Eczema isn’t unusual in infants — about one in five babies have eczema. But, being oblivious little tykes, they don’t know any better, and they usually outgrow it in a few years. A far smaller percentage of adults, only around three percent, get eczema and it’s an itchy, scratchy pain that can linger.
Dr. Musick can help with your eczema, getting the condition under control before you lose your mind from itching.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema is a group of medical conditions where the skin becomes inflamed and irritated. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. This type of eczema is usually linked to an inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions, such as hay fever or asthma.
How Do I Know If I Have Eczema?
Itchiness and eczema go hand in hand, kind of like Snapchat and your teenager. Both conditions are irritating. Eczema in almost all cases makes the skin itchy. Sometimes an area will become itchy before the rash appears. Those rashes commonly appear on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. Occasionally, rashes can occur on other parts of the body as well.
The affected skin will appear very dry, raised/thickened, or scaly. If you have fair skin, the rashes initially show up as reddish patches and then turn brown. If you have darker skin, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the area either lighter or darker.
In infants, eczema usually is a crusty, oozing rash on the face and scalp.
Causes of Eczema
Eczema isn’t fully understood, but it is linked to an overactive response from your body’s immune system to an irritant. That sounds like the definition of an allergy, and the body reacts similarly. The response causes the symptoms noted above. Families with an extensive history of allergies or asthma are often prone to eczema as well.
For some people, flare-ups come after contact with certain triggering substances or conditions. It could be exposure to a household product or chemical, it could be animal dander, it could be course/rough materials, or even a person who feels too hot or too cold. There can be other triggers too. The condition is not contagious.
At Musick Dermatology LLC, our goal is to relieve the itching caused by eczema. Cold compresses and lotions applied after bathing are helpful. We may opt for hydrocortisone creams or prescription creams with corticosteroids. We may even prescribe antibiotics if itching has led to infection. Other more involved treatments can involve ultraviolet light, cyclosporine and methotrexate, and two newer creams called topical immunomodulators (Elidel and Protopic). Finally, very recently, two more helpful medications were approved for eczema (Eucrisa and Dupixent).