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Eczema is one of the most common rashes we see in our office. In fact, nearly 30 million Americans suffer from some form of eczema. The rash appears as red scaly patches of skin and tends to be very itchy. Itch often proceeds the rash which is why eczema is commonly referred to as “the itch that rashes.” Eczema most commonly appears in childhood and goes away as a child grows older, but it can start at any point in life. More severe cases of eczema are often referred to as atopic dermatitis.
While an exact cause of eczema is not known, there are certainly genetic and environmental factors involved. Eczema tends to run in families. Eczema is a problem with the skin barrier. In normal skin, the skin provides excellent protection to external substances that could damage or irritate the skin. In those with eczema, the skin barrier isn’t fully intact which causes increased water loss, leading to dry and irritated skin. This poor barrier also allows external substances to cause a localized immune response leading to increased inflammation and itching.
Unfortunately, there is not a definitive cure for eczema, but there are highly effective management strategies to control eczema. Fortunately, most people eventually outgrow their eczema. Treatment is focused on managing symptoms and improving the skin barrier to reduce dryness and irritation of the skin. To help those with eczema, we emphasize the following management strategies:
More severe cases may require the use of prescription medications to get the rash under control. We most commonly use the following treatments to manage eczema:
If you or your child suffers from eczema, please call and schedule an appointment with one of our providers. Eczema can be controlled with a proper treatment plan and we will be happy to help make this happen.