Eczema - Diagnosis & Treatment
Eczema is a broad term used to describe a range of skin conditions characterized by rashes, itchiness, and redness.
It’s estimated that over 31 million people in the U.S. alone have some form of eczema. Episodes of eczema may be chronic, one-time issues, or continual.
Whatever kind of eczema you are experiencing, you can rely on our professional team of clinicians to help with diagnosis and treatment.
Visible redness or irritated patches on the skin may look concerning, but eczema is not contagious. There is no known cure for eczema, however, there are effective treatments and relief for symptoms available.
What are the Symptoms of Eczema?
If you have eczema, various parts of your body can develop rashes and dry, itchy skin. Usually, this occurs behind your knees, inside your elbows, and on your hands, feet, and face. However, remember that eczema is not contagious.
The most common symptom of eczema is itching, which in turn leads to scratching and rubbing the skin, increasing the irritation. Other symptoms include:
- Skin patches that are rough and leathery
- Red and raised bumps on the skin known as hives
- Scaly skin patches
- Skin that is swollen and sore
- Skin color changes.
Types of Eczema
There are many different types of eczema, diagnosed both by symptoms and where it occurs on the body, including:
- Atopic Dermatitis. The most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis usually starts during childhood and may disappear or become much milder by adulthood. Linked to allergies, many people with this condition also suffer from hay fever and asthma.
- Contact Dermatitis. Resulting in red, irritated skin, contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes in contact with a substance to which it is allergic, such as latex, certain types of metal, or chemicals. Certain skincare ingredients and makeup, plants such as poison ivy and poison oak, or even tobacco smoke can sometimes trigger contact dermatitis.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema. More common in women than men, dyshidrotic eczema is characterized by small, fluid-filled blisters forming on fingers, palms, toes, and soles of your feet. Stress is thought to be a primary trigger for outbreaks.
- Hand Eczema. Only affecting the hands, this form of eczema is common among hairdressers, cleaning personnel, and others whose hands are regularly exposed to various chemicals.
- Neurodermatitis. Very similar to atopic dermatitis, neurodermatitis presents as thick, scaly patches of skin that are very itchy, even when you are sleeping.
- Nummular Eczema. Causing round, coin-shaped spots on your skin, nummular eczema is known for making the skin extremely itchy, and is often triggered by insect bites.
- Stasis Dermatitis. Somewhat uncommon, stasis dermatitis occurs when fluid leaks out of weakened leg veins onto the skin, causing itching and redness.
What Causes Eczema?
When skin cannot retain moisture very well or has a disrupted barrier that lets moisture from the skin evaporate too freely, eczema often occurs.
Some of the most common causes of eczema include:
- Environmental factors such as pollen or mold
- Allergies such as hay fever
- Soaps, detergents, and shampoos
- Synthetic or wool fabrics
- Viral, fungal, and bacterial infections
- Pet dander
- Chemicals and solvents
Treatment for Eczema
If you suffer from eczema and want to get more information about various treatments and other aspects of your condition, talk to your dermatologist today.