Eczema (also known as dermatitis) is a non-contagious skin condition that can affect people of all ages, including 1 in 12 adults in the UK. There are different types of eczema, all of which can vary from mild to severe. The skin is usually dry and often very itchy – the urge to scratch the itch of eczema can be almost impossible to resist. During a ‘flare’ the skin can be red, sore and raw, and may bleed.
Eczema is often referred to as ‘dermatitis’ – eczema and dermatitis mean the same thing and are used interchangeably. Different types of eczema have different causes and treatments. Sometimes eczema is referred to by the area affected (e.g. hand eczema). However, more than one type of eczema can affect the same area of the body.
It is important to get a diagnosis from your GP or other healthcare professional – you may be referred to a dermatologist (a consultant who specialises in treating skin conditions) to confirm diagnosis if there is uncertainty.
Have a look at the pages on the left hand side to find out more about the different types of eczema.