60 Second Factfile: Eczema
Itchy, dry skin; red or cracked patches on the arms, face or neck. Living with eczema Atopic eczema, the most common type, usually affects people from childhood - many children grow out of it, while others grow into adulthood still living with the condition. It can vary in severity, so some people may experience it more easily than others, but it can become a very frustrating and limiting problem if untreated. The cause is unknown, but eczema often occurs in people who also have additional allergies, and it can be genetic.
There's no cure for eczema, but there are a number of effective treatments available over the counter, as well as specialist prescriptions for severe cases. Moisturising treatments are the most common, applied regularly to the skin to form a protective layer. There are also steroid creams, applied on areas that are particularly swollen. A doctor may also recommend oil baths, antibiotics or antihistamines.
While eczema can be uncomfortable and look unpleasant, it very, very rarely leaves any permanent mark. The skin is very good at healing itself, especially with support from moisturising treatments.