Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the skin. Typically, eczema causes skin to become itchy, red, and dry – even cracked and leathery. It can appear on any part of the body and is a chronic problem for many people. It’s most common in infants, many of whom outgrow it before adulthood. People with this condition have a higher risk of having allergic conditions like asthma or hay fever.
What Causes It?
Eczema tends to run in families. Certain genes can cause some people to have extra-sensitive skin. An overactive immune system is thought to play a part, too.
Triggers may include:
- Sleep deprivation
- Exposure to allergens (perfume, fragrance, dust mites, food)
- Contact with irritating substances such as wool
- Cold, dry climates
- Dry skin
What Are the Symptoms?
Nearly always, your skin will itch before a rash appears. Typically, eczema shows itself as:
- Patches of chronically itchy, dry, thickened skin, usually on the hands, neck, arms and legs (but it can occur anywhere). In children, the inner creases of the knees and elbows are often involved.
- If scratched, dry patches of skin and open sores with crusts may develop and may get infected.
What Are the Different Types of Eczema?
There are many different types of eczema, some of which include:
- Allergic contact dermatitis – A skin reaction after contact with a substance or allergen that the immune system recognizes as foreign.
- Dyshidrotic eczema – An irritation of the skin on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, characterized by itchy blisters on the sides of fingers and toes.
- Neurodermatitis – Shows up as scaly patches of skin on the head, forearms, wrists and lower legs. Accompanied by a localized itch, akin to an insect bite.
- Nummular eczema – These show up as circular patches of irritated skin that can be crusted, scaly and itchy.
- Stasis dermatitis – A skin irritation of the lower leg, usually circulatory related.
How to Treat Eczema?
Treating eczema starts with halting the itch-scratch cycle and usually includes a dry-skin care routine. This entails using very mild cleansers, avoiding washcloths, and being diligent about applying rich moisturizers to the skin while it’s still damp right out of the shower. Topical anti-inflammatories such as cortisone creams in addition to oral antihistamines can also help.* Several treatment options are available depending on how bad your particular eczema is, and through figuring out if there is a specific irritant triggering the condition. Dr. Wechsler can help you with this.
Eczema Treatment on the UES
We treat a full range of skin conditions and address your overall well-being. If you are suffering from eczema, Dr. Wechsler is able to help. To schedule a consultation, contact us at 212-396-2500 or via email at email@example.com.