Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a general term for inflammatory conditions that affect the outermost layers of the skin called the epidermis (the outermost layer) and dermis (the inner layer).

What is eczema?

In general, eczema is categorized based on whether it is triggered by an external factor (exogenous) or an internal factor (endogenous), as well as its appearance and characteristics. Often, the development of eczema is influenced by a combination of factors both inside and outside the body. Some types of eczema have unknown causes and are classified as having an unknown origin.

There are many types of eczema that can occur at any age and can be triggered by a variety of factors.

Why do you get eczema?

Eczema develops because inflammation in the skin weakens the skin barrier, resulting in water loss through the skin and making it more difficult for the body to protect itself against irritants and allergens.

This is often a combination of factors within the body that affect the composition of the skin and factors in the external environment (such as water, soap, perfume, foods, chemicals, etc.) that trigger the development of eczema. In some types of eczema, genetics also play an important role.


The symptoms vary slightly depending on the type of eczema and its severity. Generally, with eczema, one can experience red, irritated skin, itching, small bumps, boils, or pimples on the skin, sores from scratching, and dry, flaky, and cracked skin.

Diagnosing eczema

It can be challenging to identify the exact underlying cause that triggered eczema, and often, there is more than one reason. A doctor will ask several questions to determine the type of eczema and then examine the skin. If the type of eczema is clear, a diagnosis can be made, and the appropriate treatment can be initiated. Sometimes, additional tests (such as a bacterial culture from eczema, blood tests, or allergy tests) or a consultation with a dermatologist may be necessary if there is uncertainty.

Addressing triggers

It is important to remove potential triggers of eczema if possible. This can be done through trial and error or by undergoing an allergy test. You can read more about how the test is conducted here.


Subsequently, a steroid cream can be used to reduce inflammation in the skin. There are different creams available with varying strengths, and the choice of cream and strength will depend on the location and severity of eczema, as assessed by the doctor. Often, a strong cream is initially prescribed and then gradually reduced as eczema improves. Initially, the affected areas are typically applied with the cream once or twice daily for several weeks, and then the frequency can be reduced to 2-3 times per week.

It is important to always apply a good and moisturizing cream simultaneously when using steroid creams, even during periods when the eczema is better and there is no need for steroid cream.


How Dr. Dropin can help you

Mild forms of atopic eczema can be treated by a general practitioner at Dr.Dropin.

For more widespread issues or when the treatment is not yielding satisfactory results, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist. A dermatologist can also assist with allergy testing. A dermatologist can help provide you with the appropriate treatment by utilizing our image consultation service.

General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.


At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.