Eczema & Atopic Dermatitis
What Is Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis?
Eczema is a broad term in dermatology used to describe rashes that are caused by inflammation in the skin. Eczema is characterized by itching and red, flaky skin. Eczema most commonly refers to atopic dermatitis but there are other types of eczema as well including dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, contact dermatitis, and many others.
Atopic dermatitis is the most common childhood rash and seen very frequently in the dermatology office. Atopic dermatitis is partly genetic but influenced by the environment as well. It typically begins in infancy or early childhood.
While most children do outgrow atopic dermatitis, it can be quite bothersome for many years and frequently waxes and wanes.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE ECZEMA?
People with eczema usually experience their first symptoms as infants. However, children and adults can still develop this skin condition. Symptoms of eczema typically appear as red skin patches that can be itchy, dry, swollen or sore. Since rashes come in all shapes in sizes, it can be hard to self-diagnose yourself for eczema. That’s why it’s important to see a dermatologist to get as much information as you can about what could be causing it.
It’s hard to know what the exact cause of eczema is; however, for most cases of eczema, researchers believe family history and genes could be involved. People who are affected by this skin condition tend to have an overactive immune system that can be triggered by something inside or outside of the body, resulting in the production of inflammation. The inflammation causes the red, flaky and sometimes painful skin symptoms associated with most types of eczema.
Here are some everyday factors that can trigger eczema to flare up and become irritated:
- Dry skin
- Irritants, such as body lotions, dish soaps, and shampoos with fragrance
- Surface cleaners and disinfectants
- Cigarette smoke
- Metals, specifically nickel
- Wool and polyester
- Formaldehyde and many other contact allergens
Emotional stress can be considered as a trigger to eczema, and some people notice their eczema symptoms get worse when they are feeling stressed. See a board-certified dermatologist to get the relief you need.
There are many treatment options for eczema and atopic dermatitis including topical creams and emollients, light therapy (phototherapy), and sometimes oral medications. Dr. Ortleb has a state of the art Daavlin Neolux phototherapy unit for in office light treatments for those that are a candidate. A new medication called Dupixent was recently approved for hard to treat atopic dermatitis and can be very effective.
Schedule an appointment today to see which therapy is right for you! 402-509-4812