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Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Eczema is the condition can cuse the skin to become bumpy, red, itchy and extremely dry. In more extreme cases, blisters may form and the skin may peel. this can affect any part of the body.

By Able Health I Medically reviewed by Dr. Alireza Estedlal

Page last reviewed: February 2024 I Next review due: February 2026

Different types of Eczema

The two most common forms of eczema are:

  • Atopic dermatitis - This is the most common type of Eczema, usually found in the creases of the knee or elbow.
  • Contact dermatitis - This occurs when the skin is exposed to a substance that causes irritation and inflammation.


Common symptoms of Eczema are:

  • Swelling or hives on the skin
  • Crusty, scaly and flaky skin
  • Skin rash
  • Itchy skin
  • Dry skin

What does it look like?

Eczema presents differently on every person. Those with dark tone may notice a grey, brown and purple rash. Whereas those with light skin may notice a rash that appears purple, red and pink.


Some of the main causes of eczema include:

  • Overactive Immune system- Exposure to any allergens or irritants in the environment can cause inflammation and rashes.
  • Genetics- If anyone has a family history of allergies, hay fever or eczema then you are at at a higher likelyhood of contracting Eczema
  • Environment- Certain environmental elements can cause skin irritation like wool, harsh soaps, air pollutants and smoke. Even dry air can cause dry and itchy skin.
  • Emotional triggers- Mental health may affect the skin quality and health.

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Is Eczema contagious?

Eczema is not contagious


Several steps are there to prevent the flare-ups of eczema including:

  • Regular moisturising the skin when it becomes dry
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water
  • Put on loose clothes made from natural fibres
  • Control your stress and emotions
  • Use air humidifier
  • Avoid know irritants


On visiting your healthcare provider, they will diagnose the condition with a physical exam. Other tests which may be necessary for diagnosis are:

  • Allergy test
  • Blood test to confirm that rashes are not related to dermatitis
  • Skin biopsy helps in distinguishing what kind of dermatitis it may be


  • Medications- Corticosteroids creams and ointments will help to reduce inflammation. You may require antibiotics.
  • Eczema cream- Some creams are available over the counter for eczema prone skin with lots of oil to keep the skin moisturised.

Can Eczema be cured?

Eczema cannot be cured. However, effective treatment options are there for managing symptoms. You need to consult with the dermatologist for the most suitable treatment for you.

When to visit a doctor

You should visit the doctor if:

  • There is itchy rash on the skin
  • The symptoms appear for a long time
  • If there is history of atopic eczema in your family