Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become thick, dry, and scaly. It usually occurs on the feet, hands, knees, or face, although it can also present itself in other places, too.

At first the skin may appear to be irritated and red, and in light-skinned people the area may then turn to a brownish color. In darker skinned individuals though, their pigment can be depleted and make the area look lighter and sometimes colorless. On infants, they experience a rash that oozes and then crusts over, and this is most common on their faces or on the scalp.

Though there are some known triggers for this, the real cause of eczema is actually unknown at this time. Family tendencies toward eczema are common; as it has been proven that sometimes more than only one member of a family experiences it.

But what sets it in motion are triggers. Once it has been triggered, it is very difficult to reverse the illness, even if it seems to be subsiding. In those cases, a trigger could bring it on again and a flare up could occur. Some triggers are rough materials, soaps, detergents, and perfumes. Also, an animal’s dander can cause it to flare up as well.

Curiously enough, it has been demonstrated as of late, that some people who experience upper respiratory infections end up with eczema, which shows that stress might be behind this condition in some particular cases.

Now, as with almost everything in life, Eczema has two sides. The good thing about it, is that it isn’t contagious, so you needn’t worry about giving it to anyone else, since it won’t spread from person to person. On the other side, the bad news is that there is no cure at this time.

However, many people who have this disease have learned to manage it, and in doing so, they have learnt to avoid the triggers that cause it to flare up.

Once diagnosed, Eczema requires a treatment and a management plan to help make it less noticeable. Good examples of these practices are the use of cold compresses to help with the itching and moisturizers to keep the skin moist for example.

Eczema can be a very frustrating disease, but thankfully there are prescription topical creams and other medical solutions that can help ease the itching and help keep the skin from becoming thick and leathery. Hydrocortisone is sometimes used, as are corticosteroids for reduction of the inflammation. Other treatments that are commonly used by dermatologists include ultraviolet light therapy and cyclosporine drugs in cases that are more difficult to relieve.