How to Diagnose Eczema
Eczema is a kind of blanket term for a family of skin conditions in the same way that a cold is a blanket term that refers to a group of viruses. While there are several different types of eczema, the most common forms can present in such a way as to be difficult to diagnose. Here are some tips to help determine if a given skin problem is eczema or something more serious:
✚ Atopic dermatitis ✚
The most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis is characterized by dryness of the skin, redness, scaling, and itchiness. If treatment is not obtained, the skin may blister, form a crust, and become leathery. Atopic dermatitis frequently presents with hay fever and/or asthma. It can be easily confused with contact dermatitis, which is eczema brought on by contact to an allergen like poison ivy.
As is the case with many dermatological conditions, confidently diagnosing atopic dermatitis can be difficult. Many rashes, such as psoriasis or fungal infections, can present with nearly identical symptoms. It is a good idea to visit a local skin specialist to confirm an exact diagnosis.
✚ Contact dermatitis ✚
Often mistaken for atopic dermatitis, this is a rash that develops due to exposure to certain irritants. If the offending irritant is not removed or avoided, treatment will be difficult. To determine the particular irritant causing the dermatitis, it may be necessary to visit a dermatologist or allergist.
✚ Xerotic dermatitis ✚
Xerosis means dryness, and this form of dermatitis is brought on by excessive dry skin. It presents as flaky, cracked, itchy skin that can bleed easily if scratched. Keeping the skin hydrated is obviously important for this type of eczema.
✚ Seborrhoeic dermatitis ✚
Often confused with dandruff, this form of eczema is identified by flaking, peeling, and slick skin. Like the other forms previously mentioned, seborrhoeic dermatitis requires a trained eye to positively diagnosis.
✚ Less common forms of eczema ✚
Rare types of eczema include stasis dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, lichen simplex chronicus, and id reactions. While most of them are not serious health concerns, they are conditions that most family practice doctors will have a difficult time diagnosing. A few of these variants are actually caused by dangerous conditions and should be considered urgent.
While very common, most forms of eczema are easily treatable. Like any illness, however, a proper diagnosis and treatment for Eczema like this is the first step at tackling the problem. If a rash or other skin outbreak is new or seems unusual in any way, make sure to have it looked at by a professional.