What is eczema and what symptoms may occur?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a non-contagious chronic and relapsing occurring skin disease. Typically it is recognisable by dry, scaly and itchy skin, and can also be accompanied by asthma or other forms of allergy.
Today it is believed that the predisposition to eczema is hereditary, though it can also be triggered by external factors. These triggers are often different for individuals and so is the severity and the size of the affected areas.
Possible triggers include:
- Allergens reactions (ie; to pets, pollen or food)
- Physical stress
- Mental stress
- Chemical irritation of the skin
What causes eczema?
Those suffering from eczema normally have an impaired immune system, which can sometimes be the cause for its sensitivity, tendency to inflame and vulnerability to allergens.
There are still many open questions about acute episodes of eczema. Today it is assumed that a defect in the lipometabolism causes a deficiency of lipids. Due to this deficiency of lipids, ceramides in the epidermal stratum corneum (horny layer) are produced incorrectly. This causes the natural barrier function of the skin to become disrupted which leads to transepidermal water loss that causes the skin to dry out severely. The dry skin then becomes itchy and irritated.