Eczema, or dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disease that is characterized by redness, scaling, small blisters, red bumps, swelling, scabs, and is often accompanied by a lot of itching. With eczema, the skin barrier is disrupted and this ensures that the skin retains less moisture, dries out faster and is therefore less protected against harmful agents from the outside. The causes are multiple, sometimes combined: genetic factors, irritation of the skin, allergies, stress etc.

The most common are:

Seborrheic eczema, characterised by red patches and yellow (oily) scaling in the central part of the face, scalp and ears. It mainly occurs in winter, is influenced by stress and is very recurrent.

Constitutional eczema, or atopic eczema, is characterized by itchy, inflamed skin with dry scaling. It usually appears in childhood and persists in some adults.

Patients with atopic eczema have an 'atopic constitution', meaning they are prone to develop 

allergies (house dust, pollen, food allergies, etc).

They often develop other allergic symptoms like asthma and hay fever.

 

Contact eczema, which occurs when there is contact between the skin

and a foreign substance (allergen). 

Where a contact eczema is suspected, patch tests are performed to identify and, when possible, avoid the allergen that triggers the reaction.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease, in which red scaly patches develop, mainly on the elbows, knees, shins, back and scalp, but can be anywhere on the body.

Psoriasis is frequent, non-contagious and can have a significant impact on the quality of life of affected patients. It is a hereditary condition and can develop at any age. In addition to a genetic basis, there are various triggers or worsening factors such as stress, some medicines, infections, etc.

Treatment consists mainly of topical creams (corticosteroids) for limited and localized forms, and phototherapy (PUVA or UVB) for more extensive forms. Severe forms of psoriasis are eligible for more severe medications, like systemic treatment and biologicals injections.

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  • Dr Cathy Dermato
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