In eczema, the main problems occur in the epidermis where the keratinocytes become less tightly held together. As a result, they become vulnerable to external factors such as soap, water and more aggressive solvents such as washing up liquid, or solvents used as part of work or hobbies. These solvents dissolve some of the grease and protein that contribute to the natural barrier of the skin. Once this process has begun, the skin may become inflamed as a reaction to minor irritation such as rubbing or scratching. This, in turn, makes the eczema worse and a cycle of irritation, inflammation and deterioration of eczema becomes established.
In eczema the keratinocytes become less tightly held together, so becoming more vulnerable to external factors such as chemical solvents and water, which dissolve the natural protective barrier of the skin.
Dermatitis and eczema are a common problem all over the world. Their incidence is 2-3 per cent of all medical problems seen in practice (about 30 per cent of all the dermatoses). Dermatitis and eczema are noncontagious inflammation of the skin, characterized by erythema, scaling, oedema, vesiculation and oozing. Dermatitis literally means inflammation of the skin and as such can include all inflammation of the skin except by specific infections. The term ‘Eczema’ is a Greek word (Ec: means out, and zeo means boils). Basically, two factors cause dermatitis and eczema. Firstly, an allergic or a sensitive skin; and secondly, exposure to an allergen or an irritant. Darier had correctly said that, “there is no eczema but an eczematous patient.” With industrialization and increasing use of chemicals and synthetics, the incidence of contact dermatitis is on the increase everywhere. Contact dermatitis develops within a few hours after contact with offending agent (allergen to which the patient is potentially hypersensitive). Contact dermatitis is usually caused by chemical agents in plants, cosmetics, external medicaments, clothing and occupational chemicals.
Infective eczema results from sensitization to certain organisms like streptococci, staphylococci, dermatophytes and yeast organisms. It is very common in tropical countries. Infantile eczema occurs in children between the ages of three months and two years. Infantile eczemas are not infectious, and they heal completely without scarring unless a secondary infection occurs. Atopic eczema. It is also called Asthma – Eczema Syndrome. There is a strong familial predisposition to allergic diseases like asthma, eczema and hay fever: frequently, a personal history of collateral allergies is present.
Etiology and Pathogenesis are not definitely established: psychologenic stresses, focal sepsis, food allergies, alcohol, debility and drugs are usually held responsible. A dry skin and cold weather may be associated with it. Treatment depends from case to case. Generally Homeopathic medicine like Graphite is prescribed for eczema in folds of the skin, vertex, scalp, ears, extremities, around anus etc.