Eczema is a chronic skin condition which leaves sufferers with scaly skin and itchy rashes that may become infected if scratched. The symptoms of eczema can make many sufferers feel self-conscious and may mean that help is not sought to treat eczema effectively. Atopic eczema is the most common form although nummular eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, and both contact dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis also fall under this broad category.

Atopic eczema has a hereditary component, with several members of the same family likely to suffer from the condition, along with other illnesses involving hypersensitivity such as asthma or hayfever. Atopic eczema is a hypersensitive skin reaction similar to an allergy which causes the skin to become chronically inflamed. The condition is most common in infants and, in a large number of cases an infant with atopic eczema will outgrow the condition in their teens or in adulthood.

Triggers of eczema can be difficult to control for many sufferers as they are often common allergens such as pollen, mould, animal hair, dust mites, and even everyday substances such as soaps, laundry detergents, and skin moisturisers. In trying to treat dry, flaky, itchy skin with numerous moisturising creams sufferers may be inadvertently making their eczema symptoms worse. Other conditions which can exacerbate eczema include viral infections such as the flu, along with colds, exposure to heat and cold, environmental irritants, prolonged water exposure during bathing, dehydration of the skin, perfumes and aftershaves (cologne), stress, and contact with rough materials or chafing fabrics. Many food allergens also contribute to eczema and may be causing internal damage as well as external symptoms of eczema.

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