Eczema is a medical term used for a group of skin conditions wherein the skin becomes inflamed or very irritated. Skin becomes very itchy and a red rash develops that may look red, dry, or cracked. Some common areas where rashes appear are on the face, the back of the knees, wrists, hands or feet but it may also be present in other areas of the body. Eczema can affect people of any age, gender and race. There are several types of eczema but the most common is atopic dermatitis. This type of eczema may be inherited and those with atopic dermatitis are likely to also have seasonal allergies or asthma. Causes The real cause of eczema is unknown however, it has been related to an overactive immune system. Eczema may also be prevalent in families that have a history of asthma or allergies. In some people, eczema ‘flare ups’ may develop in response to exposure to certain substances or environmental conditions.

Some things that may flare eczema include:

  • Rough material (such as wool)
  • Very cold, dry weather
  • Very hot, humid weather
  • Stress
  • Frequent water exposure (such as frequent hand washing)

Some people may develop eczema because of an allergy to something that is touching their skin. This is called allergic contact dermatitis.


There is no cure for eczema. Oftentimes, symptoms may be managed by reduced exposure to the irritant as well as avoiding stress and extreme environmental conditions. Eczema is manageable and is not contagious. If you are diagnosed with eczema, your doctor can help you deal with your symptoms and manage your daily activities to become free from eczema attacks.