One of the most common forms of dermatitis is eczema, which occurs more in children than adults. This skin condition presents as dry, itchy skin that leads to rashes due to itching, rubbing and irritation. When the person continues to itch and rub their skin, the skin will thicken causing lichenification. Genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors play a role in this condition. A common gene mutation observed in atopic dermatitis is Filaggrin, which is responsible for making the skin’s outer layer by forming corneocytes. People with eczema have a dysfunctional and unorganized skin barrier which causes dry skin since there is water and moisture loss. In addition, they have a decreased number of beta-defensins, which are host defense peptides so they are more prone to infections. The damaged skin provides less protections against irritants, allergens, viruses and bacterias. They are more prone to Staphylococcus aureus infections which can make eczema worse and need to be treated with antibiotics. Eczema herpeticum, a medical emergency, can also occur caused by the ****** simplex virus-1. Treatment and management of eczema are skin hydration and topical anti-inflammatory medications. Moisturizing products such as emollients and ointments are used to hydrate the skin and keep it from drying out. Steroid creams or topical pimecrolimus and tacrolimus can be used to treat flare-ups. Topical steroids shouldn’t be used daily because there are numerous long term side effects including atrophy, telangiectasia and rebound dermatitis. Oral antihistamines can be taken at bedtime to help with disturbed sleep caused by itching. It is essential to educate patients on eliminating and avoiding triggers and allergens that might cause flare-ups.
InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Eczema: Overview. 2013 Sep 26 [Updated 2017 Feb 23].Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279399/