Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions, which affects children and adults. It can vary significantly in its presentation and cause. As such, multiple factors need to be addressed to successfully manage it. Eczema develops due to genetic and environmental factors that make it difficult for the skin to maintain a healthy barrier. When this happens, allergens and bacteria can enter and cause inflammation, leading to eczema.
Some of the symptoms of eczema include:
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Oozing and crusting
- Red, scaly patches of skin
- Rough, leathery skin
Types of Eczema
- Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that often begins in childhood. If you have asthma or hay fever or a family history of atopic dermatitis, you are at higher risk. Many children grow out of this skin disease, though it can sometimes last into adulthood.
- Contact dermatitis is a rash that develops when your skin touches something you are allergic to. This can include detergents, tobacco smoke, paint, bleach, wool, astringents, acidic food, certain soaps, fragrances, and skin care products, as well as animal dander or pollen.
- Pompholyx eczema produces itchy blisters on the edges of the fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet. It is often a response to stress, allergies, moist hands and feet, or exposure to metals such as nickel, cobalt, and chromium salts.
- Discoid eczema causes circular, dry spots on the skin that can be very itchy. Researchers believe that it might be related to insect bites, skin inflammation, or dry skin in the winter.
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis causes skin redness and flaking that tends to appear on the scalp, face, and upper chest. In babies, we call this condition “cradle cap,” though it happens to people of all ages.
- Stasis dermatitis presents as redness, scaling, itching, and pain. You are more likely to have this condition if you have chronic ankle/calf swelling. Typically, poor blood flow in your leg veins causes fluid leak from veins and irritation of the skin. In more severe cases, you could develop oozing, open sores, and infection.
Treatments We Offer
At Preston Dermatology, we offer a variety of treatments for eczema, and we work with you to create treatment plans that meet your needs. If you have a mild disease, we usually recommend topical treatments, such as moisturizers or topical anti-inflammatory medications such as steroids or calcineurin inhibitors.
For more severe disease, we may choose from a variety of other treatments:
- Narrow-band ultraviolet phototherapy uses a specific type of ultraviolet light to decrease inflammation. This works best if you have a flexible schedule since you would need to come to the clinic two to three times weekly which can be performed in our Preston clinic as well as Reservoir and Epping. For more on phototherapy, please visit the Phototherapy page.
- Immune suppressant medication can rapidly improve eczema symptoms in people with severe disease. If you take this medication, your dermatologist will need to monitor you regularly for changes in your blood and side effects.