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By: Amanda Wolfe
A medical condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed, with blisters that cause itching and bleeding, sometimes resulting from a reaction to irritation (eczematous dermatitis) but more typically having no obvious external cause.
Some forms of eczema can be triggered by substances that come in contact with the skin, such as soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewelr y, or sweat. Changes in temperature or humidity, or even psychological stress, can lead to outbreaks of eczema in some people.
Sometimes the itching will start before the rash appears, but when it does the rash most commonly occurs on the face, back of the knee, wrists, hands, or feet. Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these area s may initially appear reddish then turn brown.
Since the disease makes skin dry and itchy, lotions and creams are recommended to keep to keep the skin moist. Treatment of eczema may involve both lifestyle changes and use of medications.
Nearly 30 million people, including children , suffer from eczema, and it is one of the most common conditions that causes people to visit the doctor. Eczema prevalence among adults was highest in those aged 16-24. For men there was no change in the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed eczema since 1995-1996, and only a small increase for women (from 15% in 1995-1996 to 16% in 2001.