What is eczema?
Eczema is a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become irritated or inflamed. Commonly known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema, this condition affects about 10 – 20% of infants and about 3% of adults and children in the United States. Most infants who develop eczema outgrow the condition by their tenth birthday, though some have periodic symptoms throughout their lives.
Eczema is a chronic condition characterized by red, itchy, and dry skin that may sometimes be accompanied by hay fever or asthma. Affected areas typically appear dry, scaly, or thickened. The condition may affect any area of your skin but it is most commonly seen on the face, arms, wrists, hands, feet, and behind the knees. The condition is not contagious.
What causes eczema?
Eczema can be a result of a number of things, including genetic predisposition, abnormal function of the immune system, or environmental factors. Any activities that can cause skin to be more sensitive, dry, or irritable along with any defects in the skin barrier can contribute to having eczema. Eczema often runs in families; a major risk factor is having family who have or have had eczema, asthma, or seasonal allergies like hay fever.
What eczema treatment is available?
Although no cure has been found yet, most people suffering from eczema can effectively manage the disease with proper medical treatment and by avoiding irritants. The goal of treatment is to prevent and relieve itching and irritation, as this can lead to secondary infection. Since the disease makes skin itchy and dry, lotions and creams to keep the skin moist are often recommended. Cold compresses can also be used to keep discomfort at bay.
At Deschutes Dermatology, we work with you to find the eczema treatment that best suits your unique case. From prescription cortisone creams to antihistamines to medical grade moisturizers; from ultraviolet light therapy to injectable systemic treatments, we can solve the problem.