What is eczema

Eczema is a lesion of the superficial layers of the skin of a neuro-allergic nature. This disease occurs under the influence of a variety of external and internal causes in people whose body is distinguished by a special congenital or acquired hypersensitivity. Therefore, eczema is considered as an individual skin reaction to a variety of irritations. Eczema can occur at any age, anywhere on the skin.
Various forms of eczema are quite common. According to statistics, about 15 – 20% of the total number of patients suffering from skin diseases are patients with eczema. This inflammatory skin disease can be caused by many different reasons. Most importantly, it is non-infectious and therefore non-contagious. Usually, acute and chronic forms of this disease are distinguished, although intermediate stages or so-called subacute forms of the course, as well as the transition of the disease from one stage to another, are possible.

How skin changes with eczema

Eczema on the feet

Inflammation of the skin leads to damage to skin cells. At the same time, the body’s defense system is mobilized, i.e. there is the formation of special protective cells, which are quickly transported to the “scene”. In acute inflammation, the surface of the skin is a very multifaceted picture: redness, swelling, vesicles and nodules, up to weeping and crusting. Chronic inflammation is characterized by thickening of the skin, the formation of scales and fissures, and a coarsening of the skin pattern ( lichenization ).
Of the subjective symptoms, itching, burning, a feeling of tension and even pain are in the first place. If we examine the affected area of the skin under a microscope, then at various stages of the disease, tissue changes typical of eczema can be seen. These include focal accumulations of water between skin cells, thickening of individual cell layers and irregular, most often excessive keratinization of the uppermost layer of the skin. In addition, inflammatory cells are also found, located in the lower layers of the skin. Increased peeling leads to excessive roughness of the skin with the loss of its natural functions. In the affected areas, the acid mantle, which is so important for our skin, cannot be formed sufficiently, as a result of which there is an increased release of fluid and fats, which leads to a feeling of dryness and the formation of cracks. In addition, due to the destruction of the natural protective film, it is easier for bacteria to penetrate the skin and fungi.

What factors contribute to the appearance of eczema

Due to the wide variety of forms of eczema, it is impossible to isolate any common causative factors that cause this disease. However, certain habits are known to be very harmful to our skin and contribute to the development of skin diseases and especially eczema.
Vital for the skin, and thus for our entire body, the protective film (acidic mantle of the skin) is usually very sensitive. This is evidenced by at least the fact that even 15-20 minutes of being in the shower or in the bath is quite enough to significantly destroy the normal liquid-fatty film of our skin only due to contact with water. If, for example, soap is additionally used to wash the skin, then a shorter exposure will suffice. After that, to restore the protective acid mantle of the skin, depending on the type of skin, it takes from 30 minutes to many hours. All this would not look so dramatic if such an impact were one-time. Added to this are other factors that damage the acid mantle of the skin, such as strong ultraviolet radiation or too tight clothing, as well as too frequent showers or baths with too hot water, the skin becomes even more susceptible to diseases.

With congestive eczema that develops against the background of a chronic venous disease, it is necessary to treat not only skin manifestations, but, above all, the underlying disease. Diseases of the veins are best treated in the early stages, when further progression of the disease can be halted by targeted preventive measures such as wearing elastic stockings, exercising the veins, using herbal remedies for the veins, and the like.

A risk factor for patients with sun allergy is, for example, strong solar radiation. As already mentioned, the skin must be largely “hardened” by gradual adaptation to the sun and sufficiently protected from the action of ultraviolet rays.

Particular problems arise if a hereditary predisposition to various skin diseases is added to the daily harmful effects. In this regard, at home and at work, you should always try to avoid any contact with harmful substances, carefully care for the skin and protect it.

event_note March 9, 2022

account_box Dr. Peter B Milburn

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