Also known as dermatitis, eczema is among the commonest forms of skin disease, and it often responds well to homeopathic treatment. It affects up to 20 per cent of schoolchildren and seven to eight percent of adults. Children tend to grow out of it and the majority improve greatly by their mid-teens. It is an inflammatory condition in which patches of skin become red, inflamed and itchy. The affected areas may also be covered in small, fluid-filled blisters. There are a number of different forms of eczema.
This too comes in several varieties, but all involve reddened areas of skin covered in large, adherent silvery scales. The basic problem is excessively rapid division of the horny cells of the epidermis, probably provoked by inflammation whose cause is currently unknown. Psoriasis tends to run in families; it most commonly comes on in late teenage or early adult life. It can be triggered by some medicines, including antidepressant, antihypertensive and antimalarial drugs, and infections with streptococcus bacteria.