What is Eczema or Dermatitis?
Eczema is dry, red, irritated, itchy skin. There are many forms of eczema. Eczema is not contagious and may be caused by any one of a number of factors, including allergic reaction, irritating substances, another medical issue and even your genetic makeup. Eczema may be acute (short-term) or chronic (lifelong).
Sometimes you can prevent a flareup of eczema by avoiding contact with irritants or allergy triggers, and by minimizing stressful situations. However, when eczema does show up to trouble you, My Dermatology can help provide relief with a specialized treatment that considers your skin type, previous history, location on the body, severity and appearance of the eczema outbreak, the underlying cause of the rash and how you live.
Different Types of DermatitisAtopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is most common in infants and young children and in about half of cases it will disappear over time. The rash begins as dry itchy skin, particularly in the skin folds of the neck, wrist, elbow and knee creases and can sometimes be mistaken for diaper rash. Sometimes scratching and skin cracking can lead to infection.
Asteatotic Dermatitis (Xerosis)
The asteatotic type of dermatitis is caused by dry skin, particularly located on the arms and lower legs of mature adults. Your skin can get scaly, itchy and red and cracks may appear on the skin surface due to a reduction in the natural oil that the skin normally produces to protect and moisturize.
Contact dermatitis can be allergic or irritant. It results from an allergic reaction to poison ivy, chemicals, animal dander, perfumes or other irritants. You may experience red raised bumps in lines or blotches with small, clear fluid-filled blisters from two days to two weeks after contact.
Dyshidrotic Eczema (Pompholyx)
Dyshidrotic eczema causes small, intensely itchy blisters to develop on the palms of the hands, skies or fingers or soles of the feet and cause scaly patches of skin that flake, get red, crack and cause pain. Dyshidrotic eczema is twice as likely to appear in women than men.
This form of eczema usually shows up many times in dry cold weather and is identifiable by coin-shaped patches of irritated skin and can spread to the trunk of the body. Symptoms of nummular eczema include itching, redness and swelling or scaling can occur, and skin lesions that can ooze and become crusty.
Seborrheic Dermatitis (Dandruff)
You may know seborrheic dermatitis as dandruff, a common skin condition that causes flaky scales on the scalp or in the beards or mustaches of men. It may also appear in the eyebrows, sides of the nose and behind the ears. Look for reddish, swollen and greasy patches with a white to yellowish crusty scaled surface.
Stasis dermatitis shows up as red, irritated skin when blood collects in the veins of the lower legs due to circulation problems. Fluid and blood cells leak out of veins into the skin, leading to itching, swelling and pain that gets worse when you stand up.
Relief for Eczema
These are some of the treatments and My Dermatologist providers will decide the best regimen to care for you eczema. Treatment will depend on a number of factors, and diagnosing the underlying cause of the rash is an important part of your treatment plan.
- Topical Corticosteroids. Medications are applied to the skin to relieve itching and heal affected areas. Popular corticosteroids include cortisone, hydrocortisone and prednisone.
- Topical Immunomodulators. Elidel® and Protopic® are non-steriod skin creams or gels that reduce inflammation and prevent flares when used as an eczema management therapy.
- Antibiotics. Oral antibiotics are used if a skin infection is present. Common antibiotics include cephalexin and doxycycline.
- Antihistamines. These types of oral medications, including Benadryl,® help to reduce itchiness.
- Phototherapy. Chronic cases of eczema may be helped by light therapy.
In addition to doctor prescribed treatments, there actions you can take at home to help prevent an eczema outbreak. Reduce bathing, use gentle soaps and moisturize daily. Avoid wool and other scratchy materials as well as synthetic fabrics that trap heat next to the body. Choose a breathable fabric like cotton instead.