Eczemaletters

Making sense of eczema

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Atopic Dermatitis. How is it diagnosed?

November 9th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Atopic dermatitis cannot be diagnosed with a test, like diabetes for example. Atopic dermatitis can only be diagnosed clinically. That means that in order for you to be diagnosed with Atopic dermatitis your doctor or dermatologist must see certain signs on your skin.

Sometimes even these clinical signs are not enough to diagnose Atopic Dermatitis and in such cases additional clinical features are required. The most important additional features are a personal or family history of atopy (Atopic Dermatitis, Asthma or Hay fever), itching and a history of the skin disease coming and going over a period of months to years.

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What’s in a moisturising cream?

November 5th, 2007 · 1 Comment

This article was originally published in the the March 2007 issue of the South African Aesthetic Review journal by John Knowlton, who is a cosmetic scientist.

It was not so long ago that cosmetic skin care products, and the miraculous promises that they made, were perceived as nothing more than marketing hype, with the benefits actually being delivered ranking closely alongside “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Now, firmly planted in the twenty-first century, this perception is changing radically, and rightly so. Recent advances in cosmetology, biotechnology and skin science has made the existent of topically applied skin care products that have meaningful and sustainable benefits on skin, become a reality. Contemporary skin care products must be multifaceted in order to obtain consumer acceptance and the desire to purchase. Efficacy, safety, cosmetic elegance and superior in-use characteristics all make vital contributions to products which will be successful in a very demanding marketplace.

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Good skin care product ingredients

October 24th, 2007 · 1 Comment

This post was written in response to a question from a subscriber. In reality there are no such thing as a product or ingredients that is “good” for everybody to use. Hypoallergenic is also a relative term. People can be allergic to so-called hypoallergenic products as well. In some cases the words “sensitive” and “hypoallergenic” are simply marketing ploys.

It is perhaps easier to try and address the issue of good skin care ingredients by pointing out ingredients that should preferably not be present in skin care products.

Broadly speaking a product should not contain any ingredients that is not essential to its function.

Colorants and perfumes are the first two ingredients that are definately non essential.

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What is Cradle Cap?

October 7th, 2007 · No Comments

Cradle cap is a term used to refer to any red scaly rash on the scalp of babies. Cradle cap is not a medical diagnosis, but simply a descriptive term, like the term diaper dermatitis.

There are a few causes of Cradle cap, including Seborrheic dermatitis, Atopic Dermatitis and Plaque Psoriasis. Seborrheic dermatitis is the most common cause of cradle cap. Like all medical conditions the cause of the Cradle cap must first be diagnosed before any specific treatment is started.

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Dyshidrotic eczema (pompholyx)

September 26th, 2007 · No Comments

Dyshidrotic eczema (otherwise known as pompholyx) is a term used by some to describe a specific disease, i.e. Dyshidrotic eczema, while others use the term to describe a specific clinical picture that can have more than one cause. In the rest of this article I will take the latter view, i.e. that Dyshidrotic eczema is a clinical reaction pattern caused by more than one condition.

The typical areas affected by Dyshidrotic eczema are the sides of the fingers and toes. On occasion any palmar area of the hand (palm-side) or plantar area of the feet (sole-side) can be affected. The hands are affected in isolation in 80% of cases, the feet solely (sic) in 10% of cases and both the hands and feet in the remaining 10% of cases. Dyshidrotic eczema can be extremely itchy.

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Seborrheic dermatitis

September 26th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Seborrheic dermatitis/eczema is a form of eczema that can appear only on certain parts of the body. The appearance of the rash varies depending on the area of the body that is involved. On the scalp the rash typically appears red and scaly, whereas in the skin folds the rash is typically devoid of scale and therefore appears red and moist.

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Perioral-nasal-ocular dermatitis

September 26th, 2007 · No Comments

Perioral-nasal-ocular dermatitis a type of dermatitis that occurs only around the mouth, nose and eyes. It does not have to be present in all of the areas at the same time. Some people believe that Perioral-nasal-ocular dermatitis does in fact not exist and that people that fit the clinical picture of Peri-ral-nasal-ocular dermatitis are in fact suffering from Rosacea.

It is certainly true that Rosacea and Perioral-nasal-ocular dermatitis can at times seemingly be present in the same patient. Because it is always more likely that someone is suffering from 1 condition rather than 2 conditions at the same time, the abovementioned phenomenon lends support to the thesis that Rosacea and Perioral-nasal-ocular dermatitis is the same condition with 2 slightly different clinical expressions. Histologically, i.e. when looking at a piece of skin under the microscope that has been obtained by biopsy from a patients face, both Rosacea and Perioral-nasal-ocular dermatitis displays the same type of inflammation, knows as a granulomatous peri-folliculitis.

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Nummular eczema

September 26th, 2007 · No Comments

The word nummular derives from the Latin word nummulus. Nummulus is the diminutive of the word nummus, that means “coin”. Therefore, nummular eczema refers to a type of eczema that presents with coin-shaped (round) areas of eczema. Nummular eczema is also referred to as discoid eczema.

Most patients with Nummular eczema presents with 1-3cm round patches of eczema that can occur anywhere on the body. The patches can either be weeping (acute eczema) or become thickened, dry and scaly (chronic eczema). The degree of itching is variable and can be severe.

There are two views regarding the cause of nummular eczema. One view sees Nummular eczema as a manifestation of another type of eczema that are simply presenting with nummular lesions. Another school of thought believes that Nummular eczema is a unique entity.

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Seborrheic dermatitis treatment

September 26th, 2007 · No Comments

It is important to realise that the treatment of Seborrheic dermatitis is aimed at control of the disease and not at cure. The reason for that is simply that there are no known cures for Seborrheic dermatitis. That off course does not mean that you will be suffering from Seborrheic dermatitis indefinitely. The disease can spontaneously remit.

You should not be disheartened by the fact that the aim of treatment is control and not cure, because most people find the condition quite easy to control.

The most important thing to do is to make the treatment of the condition part of your daily routine. Learn to like to treat it!

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