Also known as dermatitis, this condition can affect any part of the skin which becomes itchy, dry, red and cracked. Although it can improve with time, it is usually a chronic condition that affects particularly the children. There are several types of this skin swelling and atopic eczema is the common form that typically affects the back or the front of the knees, cheeks, scalp, hands and around the neck. It is generally important to identify the different kinds of eczema as the treatments accordingly vary.


The exact cause of eczema is not known and is believed to be caused by various triggering factors. Understanding these triggers can help control the symptoms. Some of the common triggering factors include the dry skin, irritants such as detergents or shampoos, emotional stress, certain infections and various allergen materials that can trigger an allergic reaction.


The symptoms of eczema are different for each individual and don’t necessarily look the same as another person affected with this condition. It can also occur in the different parts of the body that can develop at various times. The common symptom is the itchiness of the affected skin which can be mild or moderate. In some cases, the itchiness can be chronic presenting extremely inflamed skin. Eczema generally presents red, inflamed skin, dry or sensitive skin, crusting, areas of swelling, itchiness and scaly patches of the skin.

Some types of eczema

Atopic dermatitis typically appears in childhood but can disappear as the child gets older, although some may continue it into their adulthood. Individuals who have asthma or hay fever are predisposed to developing this condition.

Irritant dermatitis develops when the individual’s skin is exposed to certain toxic materials.

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs with exposure to certain allergen material such as poison ivy.

Fungal infections can present signs of other types of eczema but the fungus can be identified under the microscope.

Contact dermatitis develops as the result of contact with certain materials in the environment the individual is allergic to by causing a skin reaction.


The diagnosis is based on the examination of the affected area of the skin and the history of the individual. A skin biopsy may be required which is observed under the microscope. In the case of allergic contact dermatitis, a patch test may be done that introduces the suspected allergen material to the skin to observe if any reaction occurs.


There is no specific cure for some types of dermatitis. Generally, the treatment for this skin condition is based on relieving the symptoms by reducing the inflammation and the itchiness. Certain types of this skin condition can be prevented by exposure to things that irritate the skin such as lotions or detergents, controlling stress and avoiding the allergen materials such as pollens or certain food.