Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that can affect people of all ages. It is characterized by redness, itching, and dryness of the skin. In some cases, it can be accompanied by allergies or asthma. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema and usually starts in childhood.
It is part of what doctors call the atopic triad, which also includes asthma and hay fever. Neurodermatitis is another type of eczema that causes thick, scaly patches to appear on the skin. Nummular eczema can be triggered by an allergic reaction to metals or chemicals, or by an insect bite. Dry skin can also cause it.
Most eczema comes and goes over time, but some forms may stay with you throughout your life. The FDA has approved JAK inhibitors to treat atopic dermatitis (eczema), but they come with serious warnings. There are also other treatment options available for those who suffer from this condition. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but experts believe it could be due to a difference in how a person's immune system reacts to things.
Skin allergies may be implicated in some forms of eczema. Many people with eczema have family members with this condition, suggesting that it passes from parents to children through genes. The main risk factor for atopic dermatitis is having a personal or family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever, or asthma. It is best to avoid products that contain perfume or lanolin, as people with eczema are more likely to experience adverse reactions to these ingredients.
If an allergic reaction causes an eczema outbreak, you'll want to avoid the substance that triggers it. About half of people with eczema are known to have a difference in a skin protein called filagrin, which causes skin changes that result in reduced barrier function. In women in menopause, as estrogen levels decrease, skin changes are observed that make the skin more prone to eczema. Sometimes the appearance of atopic eczema in later life can be attributed to a particularly stressful event or period, such as after a mourning or being fired.
If your eczema can be attributed to stress, you might benefit from seeking additional sources of emotional support.