Eczema is a congenital skin condition.
More specifically, eczema is a common skin condition characterized by reddening (erythema) and vesicle formation, which may lead to weeping and crusting.
It is endogenous, or "constitutional". This means that outside agents do not play a primary role. Contrast this with dermatitis, in which case outside agents do play a primary role. However in some contexts the terms dermatitis and eczema are used interchangeably to refer to the symptoms of these skin conditions.
The five main types of eczema are:
- Atopic eczema, which is associated with asthma and hay-fever
- Seborrhoeic eczema (or Dermatitis), typically affects the scalp, eyelids, nose, and lip. It is associated with the presence of pityrosporum yeasts and common among AIDS patients.
- Discoid (or Nummular) eczema, characterized by coin-shaped lesions and only occuring in adults
- Pompholyx, affecting only the hands and feet
- Gravitational (or stasis) eczema, which is associated with poor venous circulation and is sometimes referred to as varicose eczema.
See also skin conditions and disorders (all on one page). This may interest students of massage, reflexology, holistic treatments of various types, beauty therapies, and other health related courses.
Further information about skin includes the structure of skin (with diagram), an explanation of what dermatology means and includes and textbooks about dermatology.