Eczema, or Atopic Dermatitis, is a type of dermatitis whose exact cause is unknown, but is thought to be associated with your body’s immune system overacting when in contact with some undefined environmental trigger.
For some, an eczema inflammation can occur with the touch of a rough material, such as wool. For others it could be simply the exposure to animal dander, or even a feeling of being too hot or too cold. Eczema tends to be found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma. It is particularly common to infants and children under 5, but for some adults, it persists throughout their lives.
Skin affected with eczema usually appears very dry, thickened or scaly. And while they break out mostly on the face, knees, hands, or feet, these dry, rough, flaking patches can appear anywhere on the body. Affected areas are always accompanied by uncomfortable itchiness and may also initially appear reddish before turning brown. In some people they can even affect skin pigmentation. If left untreated, eczema can lead to infection, but ultimately, treatments for it are intended to manage your condition, since there is no known cure. At the very least, eczema is manageable and it is not contagious.