Eczema, or dermatitis, refers to inflammation of the skin. It is one of the commonest causes of dry, sensitive skin. When this condition flares up, it can result in an intensely itchy, red inflamed rash. There are many types of eczema, and it can be present in all age groups. The commonest type of eczema is Atopic eczema. This occurs in people whose skin is hypersensitive to agents such as dust in the environment, certain foods etc. Discoid eczema presents with an itchy, scaly rash in round or coin-shaped patches usually on the arms and legs. Asteatotic eczema is an extreme dryness of the skin causing an itchy, scaly rash on the arms and legs that resembles “cracked tiles”. It affects elderly people.
The mainstay of treatment for eczema is good skin care with regular application of moisturisers. When there is a flare-up of the rash, the dermatologist will prescribe steroid creams or ointments. These come in different strengths depending on the severity of the flare. Sometimes, eczema can get infected by bacteria, and in these cases, oral or topical antibiotics may be necessary.