Eczema

(ATOPIC DERMATITIS)

Eczema is an intensely itchy skin rash that affects about 10% of the population.

Also known as atopic dermatitis, this is a chronic disease of the skin, which means that doctors cannot cure the disease. But with proper medical care, the symptoms of eczema can be well controlled. While eczema can appear at any age, in most cases eczema first appears in infants and children and often people outgrow the disease after childhood.

Outbreaks typically show up on the face, scalp, or hands, but they can happen on any part of the body. Common eczema symptoms include:

  • Intense itchiness
  • Extremely dry skin
  • Red and irritated skin
  • Small blisters that may ooze
  • Crusting and thickening of the skin

What Causes Eczema?

Genetics – the tendancy to run in families – is thought to be a factor in eczema. An immune system that does not function normally is also thought to be a cause of the disease. People with eczema may be missing certain proteins in their skin, resulting in sensitivity. And because eczema is triggered by dryness in the air, environmental factors also cause eczema.

Eczema is not contagious and you cannot catch it from another person. It is not caused by an allergy to food or medications.

Physicians help patients to understand environmental and lifestyle triggers which can include:

• Cold or dry air
• Sudden temperature changes
• Illnesses, such as colds or the flu
• Contact with chemicals and other irritants
• Perfumes, skin lotions or soaps (especially with added dye or fragrance)
• Contact with rough materials
• Allergies, including mold, pollen, dust mites or animals
• Stress
• Dry skin and overexposure to water (excessive bathing or swimming)

Treatment For Eczema

As a chronic, or reoccurring condition, eczema cannot be cured.

The physicians at Midwest Dermatology focus treatment on reducing eczema triggers and controlling the itchy symptoms of the disease.

Eczema symptoms can be treated effectively by a dermatologist. This is especially good news for the 60 percent of eczema patients who experience some form of the condition after age 25. At Midwest Dermatology, our board-certified specialists use a three-step approach:

• Manage the dryness by recommending specific unscented moisturizing soaps, lotions and hand creams with oils that lock in moisture and will not irritate your skin.
• Manage the itch with prescription ointments and creams that take away the itchy sensation and redness.
• Prescription strength topical steroids for mild to moderate eczema.
• Non-steroid prescription medication for moderate to severe eczema.
• Manage your unique skin situation and prevent eczema outbreaks by avoiding hot baths, fragrance products, harsh detergents and other specific items that may aggravate your skin.

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