What is Eczema?
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin rash that makes your skin red, dry and itchy. It is common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is chronic, flares periodically then subside and may be associated with asthma or hay fever. There is no cure but treatments and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks.
What Causes Eczema?
Atopic dermatitis tends to be hereditary and commonly occurs with allergies, asthma and hay fever. Dry, irritable skin, which reduces the skin’s ability to be an effective barrier. Therefore, triggers can be changes in temperature, exposure to water, environmental irritants and detergents. Allergens, stress and infections can worsen your eczema.
Your symptoms of eczema may vary and include:
- Cracked, dry skin
- Thick, rough, scaly skin
- Intense itching
Eczema itching can be so intense that frequent scratching may lead to skin bleeding, oozing or crusting and sometimes even infection.
Atopic dermatitis can be persistent so it is important to follow self care steps and seek treatment early. You may need to try several treatments over months to control it.
- Oral antihistamines (Benadryl, Claritin, etc.): to reduce allergies & severe itching
- Topical steroid creams: short term to control itching and inflammation
- Non-steroid creams: prescription-only; to help repair the skin
- Antibiotics: if you have a skin infection, open sore or cracked skin caused by scratching
- Pharos Excimer Laser: state-of-the-art targeted ultraviolet B light therapy. It is painless, has no downtime, and is often covered by your insurance.