Eczema: treatment and causes

Eczema: treatment and causes

Red spots  on the skin, which are usually   accompanied  by severe itching  what can that be? In most cases it is eczema. With up to 20 percent, eczema represents the largest proportion of  skin diseases  .  Eczema is the collective term for inflammatory, mostly itchy, non-contagious skin diseases. Different forms are distinguished on the basis of different criteria. These  –  as well as possible causes and treatment options  –  are examined in more detail below.

1. Discrimination according to history

  • Acute  eczema  is often associated with itching, redness and blistering. The herds often wet and crust easily.
  • Chronic  eczema  is characterized by dry, scaly skin, increased keratinization and itching. The skin thickens, cracks and appears rough.

2. Discrimination by trigger

Depending on the trigger, a distinction is made between:

  • exogenous eczema and
  • endogenous eczema

Eczema caused by external influences is called  exogenous eczema  or  contact  eczema . A distinction is made between allergic (caused, for example, by food, cosmetic products or metals) and non-allergic (caused, for example, by chemicals such as cleaning agents or in textiles) contact dermatitis. 

In the case of exogenous eczema, a reaction usually occurs immediately after contact with the triggering agent, usually at the exact point on the skin where contact took place. The symptoms often follow a similar course: It often begins with reddening, then small blisters form, the blisters can burst and ooze, followed by crust formation and finally scaling. Such eczema is one of the most common occupational diseases. 

Endogenous eczema – genetic predisposition

Eczema that is mainly caused by internal influences is called endogenous eczema. There is a genetic predisposition to endogenous eczema – it affects around ten percent of the population.

The most common endogenous eczema is the so-called  atopic eczema  –  neurodermatitis . Children develop neurodermatitis with a frequency of about 30 to 40 percent if one parent already suffers from this skin disease. If endogenous eczema has occurred in both parents, about 60 to 70 percent of the children will develop it.

Those affected often also suffer from bronchial asthma,  hay fever  or  food allergies .

Eczema   what should be considered?

In order for the doctor to make the diagnosis easier, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • When and under what conditions did the eczema appear?
  • Have you ever suffered from such skin diseases?
  • Where do the skin lesions appear?

Possible causes of eczema

The following table provides an overview of the possible causes of eczema in different parts of the body:

Basic skin care

In any case, the individual, consistent basic care plays a special role, since the skin is already damaged in most cases and therefore requires special care. Good skin care can also prevent so-called secondary infections caused by bacteria,  fungi and viruses.

Therefore, the following applies: Avoid anything that could additionally dry out the skin. This includes, for example:

  • alkaline soaps, cleaning preparations
  • alcoholic rubs or lotions
  • hot baths over 35 degrees Celcius
  • intense sunbathing

How is eczema treated?

Non-active ointment bases or oil baths  are suitable for skin care  . Anyone who suffers from reddened or inflamed skin should  use shaking mixtures  or  O/W emulsions  . Greasy ointments should not be applied.

Open, weeping skin diseases are nowadays treated with  damp or greasy bandages.  This prevents dehydration and also has a cooling effect. Greasy-moist bandages are applied as follows: First, a greasy cream is applied, over which a moist bandage is placed. Now a dry bandage is put over it, which stays on the skin for about three to five hours.

In addition to drug-free preparations, urea preparations have also  proven their  worth, since  urea  normalizes the corneal layer, relieves itching and also has slightly antibacterial properties.

Helpful preparations for eczema

If consistent basic care does not help,  preparations containing cortisone  – possibly as so-called interval therapy, i.e. alternating with basic care – can be used.

Another option is  herbal supplements.  However, they are less effective than a 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream. In some cases, taking zinc tablets for eczema also makes sense.


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