Eczema is one of the common skin disorders that can affect people of all ages. However, it is relatively common in children (about 25 percent of all cases are found in children), and there is only a smaller proportion of adults. The flare-up of the problem can come and go. The most frequently asked question, can it be cured completely?
Actually, the word ‘eczema’ is broad – medically, it can describe numerous skin conditions. But in general, it is often associated with a skin condition called atopic dermatitis (it is the most common type of eczema).
Atopic dermatitis is generally characterized by a condition of skin that becomes dry, itchy, red, and flaky. Other signs and symptoms that may occur are swelling, blistering, or even may be bleeding (in severe case). Some types of eczema are identically to occur in specific parts of the body.
How about the exact cause of the problem? The answer is not fully understood yet. However like most things in skin problem, experts theorize that the cause maybe multifactorial. In other words, it may occur due to the combination of different causes.
The multifactorial conditions that may have an effect in causing the problem include the wrong respond of the body immune system, a genetic predisposition, metabolic problems, or environmental conditions.
Does stress also have an effect? Some experts have confirmed that stress is not the cause of the problem. But it can be a trigger of the flare-up, but this can vary from sufferer to sufferer. For more detailed information about the link between stress and eczema, visit this section!
The urge of scratching the affected-itchy skin is one of the most difficult symptoms during the flare-up. Though there are some known factors that may have an effect in triggering the itchy sensation and worsen the symptom, but actually the answer of why the problem can cause itch is still not fully understood.
A study supported by the National Institutes of Health is continuously going to find the answer of why and how the body immune and nervous system communicate each other in causing the itch, inflammation, or pain in the most common type of eczema (atopic dermatitis).
This study is also observing the mechanism of how the skin and brain work together in making the scratched-skin itch even more. The answer of this mechanism can help to find the effective treatment in an attempt to break the cycle of the itch-scratch.
The common effective ways to cope with eczema include:
- Control stress as well! Remember that stress can make the problem and symptoms get worse, as noted before!
- Watch on the ambient temperature /environment temperature! Make sure to make your room temperature as comfortable as possible since too hot/ too cold temperature also can be a trigger of the flare-up in most people with eczema.
- Reduce your chance of getting a direct exposure to smoke of cigarette, pollens, dust mites, animal dander, or other triggers!
- Do a good skin-care! For most eczema sufferers, applying emollients every day is the basic thing of skin-care routine.
- And never try scratching /rubbing your skin, because it definitely will not help, on the other hand it can worsen the problem!
Yap, experts say that eczema (particularly for atopic dermatitis) can run in families. In other words, if you have a family history of the problem, you are at greater risk than others to develop the same problem.
However, the role of inheritance (genetic) in causing eczema is not unclear yet. If genetic does have an effect, it may not work alone or more than one gene is involved.
Studies also found that kids with a family history of other atopic conditions (such as asthma and hay fever) are at high risk. And the risk can significantly increase for children whose both parents have an atopic health condition.
Researchers found that there may be a mutation that affects a protein called filaggrin. This protein is naturally found in the skin (particularly in the outermost part /layer of the skin) and it is important for the first barrier of the skin.
If filaggrin doesn’t work well, the skin is at greater chance of losing its ability in maintaining its natural barrier. As a result, the skin tends to become more sensitive and easier to be affected by some atopic problems.
The flare-up of eczema can be treated and it should go away within a few weeks. How about the cure? Is there a cure to get rid of it completely?