Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked and sore.
Some people experience small patches of dry skin but others have inflamed skin all over the body. It most commonly affects the hands, insides of the elbows, back of the knees and the face and scalp.
Inflamed skin can become red on lighter skin and darker brown, purple or grey on darker skin.
The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it often occurs in people who get allergies, it can run in families and often develops alongside other conditions such as asthma and hay fever. It can be triggered by exposure to soaps, detergents and stress.
Treatment can help to relieve the symptoms but there is currently no cure. Over the counter treatments include:
- moisturising or emollient creams which reduce dryness
- topical corticosteroids which reduce swelling, redness and itching
Other treatments include self-care techniques such as reducing scratching and avoiding known triggers.