Eczema (also known as dermatitis) is an inflammatory skin condition.
In the UK, one in five children and one in 12 adults have eczema.
Eczema presents itself in many different forms and can vary significantly from person to person.
If you have mild eczema your skin may be scaly, red, dry and itchy. If you have more severe eczema, your skin may weep, bleed and crust over.
Types of eczema:
Atopic eczema is a common form of eczema that can run in families. It can affect people of all ages but children more specifically. Its main feature is itching.
Contact eczema/dermatitis is a type of eczema that arises through contact with allergens or irritants in the environment. It is the most common work related skin disease.*
Adult Seborrhoeic eczema is a rash that develops in areas of the skin with a large quantity of sebaceous (grease) glands including the sides of the nose and the scalp.
Infantile Seborrhoeic eczema is common in children under the age of 12 months. It generally affects the scalp (where it is often referred to as cradle cap) but other areas such as the face, ears, neck and nappy area may also be affected as well as the areas behind the knees, inside the elbows and armpits.
Discoid eczema is also known as nummular dermatitis and tends to affect adults. Small, bumpy coin shaped patches develop on the skin. They may start off as swollen blisters which ooze fluid. Over the course of a few days they may become dry, crusty and cracked.
Pompholyx eczema also known as dyshidrotic eczema, tends to affect the hands and feet and is characterised by small itchy blisters.
Asteatotic eczema is predominantly experienced by people over the age of 60*. Its main features include dry, cracked, and split skin which has a 'crazy paving' type appearance.
Varicose eczema usually affects the lower legs and is more common in older adults. If left untreated the skin can become ulcerated.
Eczema is treated by consultant dermatologists.
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Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
Eczema can be managed effectively with the right treatment. General skin care is crucial and avoiding factors that trigger your eczema is also key. In addition, the use of a medical moisturiser is central to the management of the condition.
It is likely that your consultant will prepare a specific treatment plan for you depending on the type of eczema you have. Successful management often involves the combination of different approaches and medicines. Depending on the severity of your eczema, these may include:
After treatment for eczema, a follow up appointment may be required and ongoing monitoring / treatment may be recommended. Your GP can also be informed of the best course of action to continue your treatment plan.
If you have any questions or concerns, we're here to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.