Eczema symptoms actually don't come from one single condition. It is a group of skin problems, all of which cause your skin to become irritated. They can manifest themselves in teens as rashes that are more easily picked up and more frequently caught than others. In adults, eczema symptoms can appear as scaly, itchy, dry, and red skin.
There are many forms of eczema. Atopic eczema is the most common form. Even after years of research, doctors don't know exactly what causes atopic eczema, also called atopic dermatitis.
They think, however, that these particular eczema symptoms are caused by a difference in your immune system, especially in the way that it reacts to things. They also believe that allergies of the skin may be involved in some forms of the condition.
In many cases, eczema is hereditary. Most people with it have members of their family with the same problem, leading researchers to think that the genes for it are inherited or passed along to future generations. Don’t fear if you don’t have it but a friend does.
Eczema symptoms are not contagious like the sniffles or the flu. Still, the condition is pretty common. Experts estimate that about 3 out of every 100 people in the United States have the problem in one form or another.
The Connection Between Eczema and Allergies
Researchers and doctors have also found that there can be a connection between eczema symptoms and the symptoms of allergies. People with eczema, they discovered, also may have a higher risk of certain allergies, such as hay fever, and even asthma. In other cases, the relationship seems to be one of cause and effect.
For example, food allergies, such as allergic reactions to cow milk, soy, eggs, fish, and wheat, may actually trigger or make eczema worse. Other allergies, like those to animal dander, rough fabrics, and dust, could also be at the root of many cases of eczema in some teens.
At the same time as scientists are seemingly getting a grip on the causes of eczema and eczema symptoms, they are making headway when it comes to finding a remedy for the condition. Luckily for eczema sufferers, scientists are now close to discovering a cure.
It may still take several years for the scientists to locate the cure, rapid advancements in medical studies make promising, even revolutionary, new technology in the field a reality. New ways to diagnose, treat, and even prevent eczema are in the works.
The Future of Eczema Cures
These hopes are founded on information that came about during the Human Genome Project. This monumental 13-year effort had goals beyond eczema, such as identifying the human DNA genes and unlocking the secrets to the sequences that make up human DNA.
The scientists involved in the Human Genome Project are carrying out the search for gene mutations involved in inherited conditions like atopic dermatitis. This is hopeful, but don’t expect results anytime soon. This kind of research takes years, so many more are in the works before an effective therapy for eczema symptoms is available.