The term eczema refers to a number of conditions related to inflamed skin. You might inherit it or get it from excessive dryness or exposure to an irritant. Moisturizers and topical steroids usually control the problem fairly quickly. Low-potency hydrocortisone is available as an over-the-counter medication. Stronger topical steroids must be prescribed by a physician.
Dermatitis and eczema are often used interchangeably. Both represent an inflammation in the skin which can be aggravated in the winter and by Colorado’s dry climate or drying and irritating topical preparations. Acute problems refer to a rapidly evolving red rash, which may be blistered and swollen. Chronic dermatitis refers to a longstanding irritable area. It is often darker than the surrounding skin, thickened and scratched. Dermatitis affects about one in every five people at some time in their lives.
Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common, annoying, scaling rash that sometimes itches. Most commonly it involves the scalp, the eyebrows, eyelid edges, ears, the skin near the nose and skin-folds of the armpits and groin. Sometimes seborrheic dermatitis produces round, scaling patches on the middle of the chest or on the back. Seborrheic dermatitis is believed to be due to an overgrowth of a yeast called Pityrosporum ovale (Malassezia furfur).
Allergic Contact Dermatitis is an itchy skin condition caused by an reaction to agents that come in contact with the skin. This type of reaction occurs after the immune system processes the absorbed material and mounts an immune response against it. This reaction causes severe itching, swelling and redness in the affected area. The first eruption may be delayed in its apprearance but future exposure to the agent responsible will cause reactions to appear within 24 hours. Prescription medications are often necessary to control the process. Poison ivy is a classic example of this condition.
Perioral Dermatitis is a common disorder most often occurring in women which manifests with groups of small red bumps around the mouth. It has the appearance of acne and will respond to topical agents for mild cases and oral antibiotics for more severe problems. The skin around the nose and eyes are sometimes affected.