Eczema is a process of skin inflammation which causes redness, itching, dryness and, in severe cases, chapping and bleeding. Some patients were born with allergic tendency inherited from their parents - a condition known as "atopy". Others suffer from allergies or hypersensitivity to foods and chemicals in their diet. It is also possible to develop contact dermatitis from exposure to substances such as nickel in jewelry, chromium in cement, or detergent chemicals. Although it is generally good advice to try to identify and avoid such substances, this can often prove impractical.