Asteatotic Eczema

Asteatotic eczema is a form of dermatitis caused by dry skin. This is one of the most common types of eczema, and it can be quite uncomfortable for those who develop the condition.

It's a condition that often causes the affected area of skin to look cracked, and pieces of the skin can actually break away overtime, exposing a red area under the skin. While this type of dermatitis is more common, it doesn't take away from the uncomfortable sensation and the appearance it makes on the skin. Luckily, there is treatment available that will get rid of the issue.

Causes

While the exact cause of asteatotic eczema is unknown, it is thought to be caused by lack of oil in the skin. Oil can be depleted by many mechanisms, including:

  • Warm climates - This condition is made worse by warm climates, where there is not much moisture in the air.
  • Prolonged exposure to soaps - These dry out the skin and strip it of necessary oils.
  • Thyroid deficiencies - Lack of thyroid hormone leads to skin dryness.
  • Certain medications - Various drugs lead to oil depletion.
  • Malnutrition - Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can affect oil production.
  • Excessive bathing - This strips the skin of moisture.
  • Prolonged exposure of heat - This involves use of hot tubs, saunas, and swimming in heated pools.

Symptoms

Asteatotic eczema most commonly presents itself in the shin area, but it can be found on other locations of the body as well. This condition first appears as cracked skin, which can also look like stretch marks. Without treatment, the symptoms can progress, and the area will become red, itchy, and inflamed.

Some people experience co-occurring symptoms with this form of dermatitis, especially if it is due to other health problems and not due to the skin's inability to retain moisture. Some of these symptoms include weight loss, fever, and a general sense of being un-well, as reported by the patient. When these symptoms occur, the doctor will want to investigate to determine the exact cause of the rash.

Treatments

Treatment can vary based on the cause. However, some common treatments are found to be effective for ridding the body of this disorder. If the asteatotic eczema is a result of a thyroid disorder, treating the dysfunctional thyroid with medication is generally all that is required for the condition to clear up on its own overtime.

In certain cases, a steroid cream may be used to reduce redness and irritation to the area when these symptoms accompany the condition.

Practical Tips

There are some steps you can take on your own to prevent this type of eczema from occurring if not health-related, or to prevent it from getting worse.

  • Avoiding direct exposure to heat is a good way to treat and prevent the skin rash. If you bathe frequently, consider bathing only two to three times each week, or take showers instead.
  • Switch to a moisturizing body wash, rather than using a harsh soap or cleanser.
  • Applying a thick cream or gel, such as Vaseline, can also prevent the condition from getting worse or occurring all together. The Vaseline works best when applied daily to the area that most commonly becomes dry.


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