Sunday, 3 June 2012

Common Skin Disorder (Eczema)


Eczema is a form of inflammation on the epidermis which does not have a direct cause to it. Doctors believe that it is caused by gene defects that lead to distortion of certain proteins which maintain the barrier of normal skin. The protection of skin is lowered which allows allergens and irritants to make contact with the sensitive skin. Eczema is also hereditary. Although eczema rarely causes death, according to the statistics of Canada, five Canadians died from eczema in 2008.

Cause: gene defects à distortion of proteins that maintain the barrier of skin à skin becomes sensitive à inflammation occurs à cracked and itchy skin

Here is a personal experience of eczema from one of my dearest friends:

I was practically born with eczema. Apparently it’s hereditary. When I was little, my cousin and I were born almost 2 months apart and were often put into the same crib. One time, they put my cousin and I in a crib for a few hours and then went to socialize (or whatever…) and by the time they came back to check on us, I was red and covered with scratch marks. Immediately, they thought my cousin had attacked/scratched me and put us in separate cribs. Later, they found out that I had actually scratched myself, because I had eczema. My skin was scratched until it was red, with several sores on my arms and legs. Imagine that on a baby… Eczema is the most annoying thing that has ever happened to me D:  Also, my grandpa recently found out he has eczema and my dad is showing signs of having it too. It’s definitely hereditary.

There is also a different kind of eczema called “woodcutters eczema.” It is also known as cedar poisoning caused by the overexposure to lichens. It occurs mostly in lumbermen who develop allergic reactions to lichen acids.


There is no direct treatment for eczema as eczema often goes into remission (it’s like a sleeping state where there are no symptoms). Then it flares up again in early adult years. But you can lower the inflammation by using moisturizers, antibiotic creams or simply avoid wearing clothing made of wool because they can irritate the skin. Also, taking cool water showers rather than hot water showers and using soap that is less sensitive to skin can help prevent flare-ups.

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