During the launch of ‘My Eczema Action Plan : Your Step-By-Step Guide To Managing Eczema’ yesterday, Dr. Leong Kin Fon, Consultant Paediatric Dermatologist HKL and Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA) representative spoke at length about the causes and symptoms of eczema. Actually, I have heard Dr. Leong’s presentation before at an Avene workshop last year.
So what are the causes and symptoms of eczema? Let’s start with the causes first. Eczema is caused by interplay between genetic and environmental triggers. Eczema often affects people who either suffer from asthma and/or hayfever (allergic rhinitis) or have family members who do. These three diseases are often referred to by doctors as the ‘atopic triad’.
Eczema is characterised by these two easily identified symptoms, rashes and extreme itching. Your skin becomes extremely dry and it begins to itch. The urge to scratch can become intolerable. When you scratch, the skin breaks and becomes a target for infection. This then triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals and your skin becomes inflamed, which further irritates the skin. This results in a vicious itch-scratch-infection-inflammation cycle, said Dr. Leong Kin Fon.
According to Dr. Leong, eczema is a multi-factorial condition. It can be triggered by things in the environment or certain habits that can make the itching and rashes worse. Therefore it is very important to educate and empower the young patients and their parents/caregivers on the proper management and care of eczema. Patients should always hydrate and use moisturisers and controller creams regularly, use rescue medicines as prescribed by doctors correctly, as well as avoid and remove potential triggers.