Eczema (Dermatitis) – What You Need To Know Including Causes & Symptoms

eczema treatments causes

Eczema, often known as dermatitis, encompasses a range of skin conditions that result in itchy, cracked and sore parts of the skin, sometimes resulting in blisters and infections. Eczema is thought to affect up to 15 million people in the United Kingdom alone [1], typically more so in children although often continuing into adulthood. While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, it is often triggered by factors such as stress, weather and products that come into contact with the skin. These are some of the different types of eczema.

Types of Eczema / Dermatitis

Atopic Eczema

The most common form of eczema, this appears as dry, itchy and sore patches on the skin. For many it is localized to small regions, for instance the hands, but skin can become inflamed all over the body, causing great discomfort. Atopic Eczema is more common amongst children, with many developing the skin condition as babies. Some will naturally grow out of it before adulthood, but many adults still suffer from eczema, some even develop it for the first time as an adult.

atopic eczema dermatitis

What Is Atopic Eczema and What Causes It?

Unfortunately, the exact cause of the condition is unknown, despite it being so common. However, there are a few things that we do know. It’s known to run in families, so if one or both parents have it, there’s a greater chance the children will have it also. It is also more common among those who suffer from allergies, with ‘atopic’ meaning sensitivity to allergens. What’s more, there are certain triggers for atopic eczema. Weather is a common one, as is stress and the products that you use on the affected areas of the skin. Those with eczema should be careful before applying products (our ‘blue’ range of products are designed for those with sensitive skin and are suitable for people suffering from eczema).

Other Types Of Eczema

Atopic eczema is not the only form of the skin condition, there are numerous others that people may suffer from.

Seborrheic Eczema. This is a common form of eczema, often known as seborrheic dermatitis. This tends to affect the scalp, causing dry, scaly patches that can be very sore, as well as dandruff.

Discoid Eczema. This form of eczema can create itchy and swollen red patches, usually in the form of circles, on any part of the body, usually on the torso and legs. They can become infected, oozing fluid and possibly causing a fever.

discoid eczema dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis. As the name implies, this type of eczema is caused by contact with a substance that results in itchy, dry and cracked skin. This usually happens within a day of exposure to the substance, and tends to clear up once the cause is determined and avoided.

Dyshidrotic Eczema. Often resulting in blisters commonly on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, this type of eczema is thought to be related to seasonal allergies such as hayfever, and can also be linked to stress. It typically clears up within a matter of weeks.

Varicose Eczema. This form of eczema is usually found on the legs with those suffering from varicose veins, swollen and enlarged veins; purple or blue in colour. Typically this skin condition is long-term.

What You Can Do To Help With Eczema/Dermatitis

Eczema, or dermatitis, is a common skin condition so don’t feel like you are on your own. Even as an adult, there are many others who suffer from the condition. While there is no known cure for eczema, there are some things you can do to help. Firstly, it’s important not to itch or scratch, no matter how bad the urge, as this will only make things worse and can lead to infections. You should also be mindful of the products you use on your skin, as some products may make things worse. Lastly, try not to stress. This may be difficult to do with such an uncomfortable condition, but stress can lead to breakouts so try to relax and think about what may be causing stress in your life.


[1] Figure based on 23% of predicted population of 65,110,000 people in 2015, Office for National Statistics – “The prevalence of AD is estimated to be 15–20% in children and 1–3% in adults” source: S. Nutten. ‘Atopic Dermatitis: Global Epidemiology and Risk Factors’. Annuals of Nutrition and Metabolism 2015; 66 (suppl 1):8–16

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