November 16th, 2017 by Soderstrom Skin Institute
Answering Your Questions About Eczema
Carl W. Soderstrom, MD
Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology
What is Eczema?
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin disease that causes dry, itch skin. It may appear anywhere on the body, but most commonly appears on the cheeks, hands, elbows and knees.
What Does It Look Like?
While atopic dermatitis can look different from person to person, everyone shares one common symptom. The skin itches. In fact, atopic dermatitis usually begins with an itch and is often referred to as “the itch that rashes.”
What Parts of the Body Does It Affect?
In infants, the rash generally appears on the cheeks and around the mouth. By age 2, atopic dermatitis most commonly occurs on the hands, wrists, arms and legs. You will often see atopic dermatitis in the creases of the elbows and the bends of the knees by age 4. The most commonly affected areas in children and adults are the face, neck and the insides of the elbows, backs for the knees and ankles.
Which Irritants Can Trigger a Flare-Up?
Soap, chemicals, sweating, certain fabrics, food, weather changes and stress can cause a flare-up. In particular, winter weather can cause skin to become dry and itchy due to lower humidity levels.
Are There Treatments for Eczema?
Specific treatment measures and techniques vary from person to person – but these are a several ways to effectively treat and prevent severely dry skin*:
- Use skin cream, like Skin Dimensions Moisturizing Skin Cream, to add moisture back into your dry skin.
- Soaking in a bath with bath oil, like Skin Dimensions Bath Oil, for 15 to 20 minutes, is helpful because it adds moisture back into the skin. Showering tends to wash off your own body oil and makes you drier. Pat, don’t rub, yourself dry after the bath.
- A prescription cortisone cream may reduce itching, redness and irritation.
- Glycolic lotions (alpha hydroxyl acids), like Skin Dimensions Glycolic Body Lotion 15%, may be used to exfoliate and slough off the dead skin cells while hydrating and smoothing the skin.
- An antihistamine may be prescribed for itching. These pills work internally by decreasing itchiness. Take them as directed.
- A cortisone shot may be used to quickly help reduce severe redness, inflammation and itching.
- The humidity in your home should be kept around 45 to 50 percent. The use of a humidifier often helps alleviate dry skin. A humidity gauge should be placed in your home to monitor the humidity; these can be purchased at a hardware store.
How Do I Know If I Have Eczema?
The best way to know, for certain, that you have Eczema is to schedule an appointment with a qualified physician.
Interested in a Consultation?
Give us a call at 1.888.970.7546 to schedule a consultation with our team.
*results may vary
Source: National Eczema Association – https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/