Eczema Definition

Here's an eczema definition that will help you determine whether you have eczema (dermatitis) or not. For a more accurate advice, see a doctor.

Derived from the Greek and neo-Latin word, for something that boils or ferments, eczema is a serious chronic skin condition. In current situations, eczema can be defined as a type of condition where the skin becomes itchy, irritated, and often dry.


For many people, including children and young adults, eczema is brought on by allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever or by environmental conditions, such as: air pollutants, indoor/outdoor allergies, clothing, chemicals, and food. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of eczema may have no known real cause, so medical professionals will refer to the cause as "idiopathic."

Most cases of eczema appear during infancy which is referred to as "infantile eczema."  Those who have had infantile eczema generally will have flare-ups throughout adulthood. When eczema appears in adulthood, the cause can be environmental, food, or even unknown.

Involvement with the Body

Although eczema only appears on the skin, the condition can be associated with other issues or situations that affect someone's daily activities.  Eczema is affected by the histamine level in the body. Histamine is the body's natural response to stabilization of the immune system. When the immune system does not function properly, the body will be under attack. The conditions that go hand and hand with a diagnosis of eczema include:

Symptoms and Characteristics

When the skin breaks out after being exposed to dust or pollen, or when a child scratches, the skin will blister and ooze. Also, there is a chance that eczema is the cause. Symptoms of eczema include:

  • Red or pink skin               
  • Hives
  • Oozing from the skin           
  • Excessive itching
  • Raised patches of dry skin

There are other skin conditions that may appear to look like eczema, such as acne, blistering diseases, or a general case of hives. However, medical professionals can base a diagnosis of eczema after evaluating the individual's medical history as well as how the skin looks.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema but medical professionals team up with patients to battle this chronic skin disorder. For eczema, there are several treatment options to consider. These include:

  • Topical applications - Medications can be applied to the skin to help relieve pain and itching. The strength of the application comes in different forms, and these medicines are prescribed based on severity of the condition.
  • Systemic corticosteroids - Such as prednisone, these agents are given to patients when the eczema is more severe and bothersome to the patient.
  • Immunosuppressive topical agents - Including topical creams, these agents are applied directly to the skin. They work to suppress the immune system from overworking and causing the eczema flare.
  • Antihistamines - These can be taken to help alleviate the itching and are often prescribed along with a topical cream.

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