Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become reddened, dry and cracked. Atopic Eczema accounts for around 30% of skin complaints seen by GPs, and it is more common amongst children. The causes of eczema are not totally understood, but there are a number of factors that can worsen its condition, or contribute to a flare up. These include dust mites, pets and even foods like dairy produce, nuts or eggs. Eczema can also be caused by hormonal changes, and sometimes by stress and vigorous exercise. The treatment of eczema normally consists of a variety of self-help treatments, but the most important thing is for sufferers to avoid scratching the skin (easier said than done as it becomes extremely itchy)! The key treatment involves moisturising the skin to keep it supple and to prevent it becoming irritated and cracked. In addition, GPs will normally look at a sufferer’s diet, and may prescribe complimentary therapies such as aromatherapy.
Venous eczema, also known as varicose and gravitational eczema, is an irritating skin condition that only affects the legs. Like all other forms of eczema it causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy and flaky. This type of eczema is caused by poor circulation. The pressure put on the skin by the fluid build up damages it, causing the irritation. Poor circulation is often caused by age, weight or lifestyle choices such as smoking. Women are more vulnerable than men to this particular eczema, as they are more susceptible to varicose veins which can lead to this condition. Like all other types of eczema, it is a chronic condition that cannot be cured but can be managed. Eczema is treated with creams, ointments and lotions. With venous eczema the doctor may also look at treating the underlying problem with the circulation to help try and prevent it from flaring up again.
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