Eczema is a chronic recurring skin disorder that results in dry, easily irritated, itchy skin. Sometimes the itching will start before the rash appears, but when it does the rash most commonly occurs on the face, knees, hands, or feet. It may also affect other areas as well. Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, Eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker.
The exact cause of Eczema is unknown, but it’s thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to unknown triggers. In addition, Eczema is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma.
Some people may suffer “flare-ups” of the itchy rash in response to certain substances or conditions. For some, coming into contact with rough or coarse materials may cause the skin to become itchy. For others, feeling too hot or too cold, exposure to certain household products like soap or detergent, or coming into contact with animal dander may cause an outbreak. Upper respiratory infections or colds may also be triggers. Stress may cause the condition to worsen.