Different types of eczema can look very different from each other. There are seven types of eczema. The symptoms of each are outlined below:
- Red rash
- Dry or cracked skin
- Bumps or blisters
- Dry or cracked skin
- Fluid-filled bumps or blisters
- Thickened, scaly skin
- Red or brownish-grey patches of skin – often on the feet, ankles, knees, hands, wrists, elbows, neck, upper chest or eyelids.
How is eczema diagnosed?
Eczema is usually diagnosed through an examination of the affected area and your medical history. Tests are not usually required, although skin samples may be taken to confirm a diagnosis or rule out other conditions.
Which type of eczema do I have?
There are several different types of eczema. To determine which type of eczema you have, you should speak to your doctor or a dermatologist. The different types of eczema have different characteristics. The following table may help you identify which type of eczema you have, but you should always seek medical advice for diagnosis and treatment.
How is eczema treated?
The first-line treatment for mild eczema is emollient creams. Emollients are moisturizing creams that help the skin repair itself. Following this, a steroid cream can be tried. Steroid creams contain corticosteroids and come in a range of different strengths. Your doctor will prescribe a strength that is appropriate for the severity of your eczema. If the steroid cream you have been prescribed does not adequately treat your eczema, your doctor will prescribe you a more intense cream. Corticosteroids are also available in ointments, lotions, and shampoos if an alternative preparation is required (e.g. a shampoo would be most appropriate for seborrheic eczema affecting the scalp).
Can eczema be cured?
There is no cure for eczema, but there are several treatments available, including emollients and steroid creams. Some people do grow out of eczema as they get older, so you may find that your eczema goes away over time.
How eczema resolves
An Eczema flare will generally resolve if the area is shielded from further irritation. Emollients work by preventing the skin from drying out, and steroid creams help to reduce the swelling and redness during a flare-up.
What to do when eczema starts
When you first start experiencing eczema symptoms, you should make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist. Depending upon the type of eczema and the severity of your condition, they will probably prescribe you emollients and steroid creams. It is also a good idea to identify any possible eczema triggers such as allergens or stress.