What is Eczema
Eczema is the most common inflammatory skin disease. It causes areas of your skin to become itchy, red, inflamed, cracked, rough and/or flaky. Medical terminology for eczema is “atopic dermatitis”.
Infants, children, and adults can all be affected by eczema. There are several factors that can cause eczema. Although it is different for everyone, patients can experience eczema due to a genetic predisposition, allergies, and/or environmental triggers, just to name a few.
What causes eczema?
While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, it can be caused by an overactive response by the immune system following exposure to an irritant. Irritants include coming into contact with rough material or fabrics, household detergents or soaps, and stress or illness like the common cold.
Patients who have eczema may also have an ineffective skin barrier, which lets in germs and lets needed moisture out. Eczema is also thought to be genetic and is commonly found in families who have a history of other allergies or asthma.
Dr. Parvin Shafa will help you identify and avoid triggering factors that are causing your eczema breakouts.
What are the symptoms of Eczema?
Eczema will cause all body parts that are affected to become itchy. Sometimes, itching may even occur before a rash appears. Eczema rashes tend to break out on the face, behind the knees, wrists, hands, and feet. People who have eczema may experience intense itching, redness, small bumps, and skin that flakes off or becomes scaly (dry and flaking).
Skin affected by eczema will look thick, scaly, and dry. For patients with lighter skin, the area may appear red at first but may darken to brown. For those with darker skin, Eczema may affect pigmentation making the skin lighter or darker.
Is eczema contagious?
While Eczema is not contagious, it is still important to have your skin evaluated by a dermatologist if you are experiencing any symptoms. If an eczema flare-up is left untreated, you may continue to scratch so severely that you may injure the protective barrier of the skin. This injury can allow bacteria or fungus that lives on the surface of the skin to invade the skin and cause an infection. In the case of such a secondary infection, you may benefit from an antibiotic or antifungal treatment. Make an Appointment today to get your itching under control.
Is there a cure?
The good news is that most patients are clear of eczema by the time they are 10 years old. For those patients whose eczema persists after childhood, flare-ups can be controlled with proper treatment. Some cases of moderate to severe eczema require persistent, continuous treatment since there is no cure for it.
Treatment options for eczema
Allow our dermatologist, Dr. Parvin Shafa, to customize an eczema treatment that will suit your needs and lifestyle. Treatment may be as simple as proper moisturization, identifying and avoiding triggering factors through laboratory testing, lifestyle adjustments to manage stress and weather changes, Rx strength topical lotions and ointments, all the way to if needed light therapy.
How can I prevent eczema flare-ups?
Once your current eczema breakout is under control and you have discontinued Rx treatment, we will provide you with the tools and education you need to prevent future flare-ups. We have samples of all available over-the-counter eczema therapies. In general, we recommend Aveeno Eczema for regular moisturization and protection of the skin barrier.