Eczema

February 2017
There are two types of eczema: atopic eczema and contact dermatitis.

Infantile eczema, atopic dermatitis

It occurs in the first few months of life. It is characterised by a skin inflammation with dryness and accompanied by redness and itching.
The inflamation can be found on the face, scalp, behind the ears, behind the knee folds, under the armpits and in the groin.

Contact dermatitis


It most commonly affects adults.
Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction of the skin caused by direct contact with an allergen. It presents itself as small red patches and blisters accompanied by intense itching. It occurs exactly where the skin was in contact with the allergenic substance, the most frequent of which is nickel found in costume jewellery. Common reactions from jewellery are the ears, finger from rings and navel from piercings and trouser fastenings.

Products that often cause contact dermatitis

  • Nickel: costume jewellery, buttons of jeans, watch bracelets, coins....
  • Cobalt, Chromium, rubber, glue
  • Adhesive plaster
  • Hair dye and styling products
  • Cosmetic products, nail varnish, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo
  • Some topical medications, which are applied locally
  • Perfumed moisturising creams.
  • Cleaning products, detergents and washing powders
  • Clothes dyes....

Plated gold and grey gold may also contain nickel.


Patch Testing

Where the reaction is obvious then patch testing is normally not carried out. However, for accuracy or where there is dubiety patch testing is appropriate.

Patch testing for simple allergens can be carried out at your doctors surgery and a variety of products are applied to the skin and after a given time the results are reviewed. For more complex allergy testing a referral to a specialist is necessary.

For more information
http://www.eczema.org
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/eczema-(atopic)/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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