Enhanced cell division caused by sensitivity to various substances such as soap, fabric or metal, or to environmental conditions such as heat or dryness. This produces patches of dry, swollen, reddened, itchy skin. In more severe cases these patches can thicken and develop blisters, a scale-like texture, or oozing sores. There are many different types of eczema, each one ending with the word dermatitis. Here are a few common forms...

Contact dermatitis is an allergy to a chemical or material such as the following:

  • Poison ivy
  • Laundry detergent or other cleaning products
  • Metals
  • Jewelry or watches
  • Glasses (commonly occurring where the ear pieces touch the skin)
  • Rubber
  • Perfume or cosmetics

Neurodermatitis occurs when a tight garment or strap rubs or scratches the skin.

Seborrheic dermatitis A stubborn, itchy dandruff, which creates greasy, scaling areas on the sides of your nose, between your eyebrows, behind your ears or over your breastbone.

Treatment for eczema

Identify and avoid direct contact with irritants.

Soak the irritated skin in water for 20 to 30 minutes per day.

Avoid scratching. If you can't control yourself, cover the itchy area with a dressing, trim your nails and wear gloves at night.

Dress appropriately to avoid excessive sweating.

Wear smooth-textured cotton clothing. Avoid wool carpeting, wool bedding and wool clothes.

Take good care of yourself. Eczema can show up when you're stressed or when you're neglecting your health. Get sleep, eat well, exercise and you'll be more resistant to it.

Keep your skin moisturized...

  • Take fewer and shorter showers or baths. Use lukewarm water.
  • Don't use a lot of soap, or use mild moisturizing superfatted soaps such as Basis or Dove.
  • Shampoo with a moisturizing shampoo.
  • Pat your skin dry.
  • Apply an oil or water-in-oil moisturizing cream immediately after drying.
  • Avoid any skin or hair products containing alcohol.
  • Use a humidifier at home while you sleep.

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