What is eczema?
Eczema is a red, scaly, itching skin condition that often begins in infancy or childhood, but may begin at any age. More specific terms for this condition are atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. Eczema may be inherited, occurring in other family members, and it may be associated with hay fever or asthma. It is not contagious.
Normally, our skin forms a strong barrier to potential irritants such as soap, fragrances, and water. In atopic eczema, the normal skin barrier is disrupted and the skin itches and becomes irritated very easily. When the barrier is broken the skin cannot retain water and becomes dry and red. Bacteria may also grow more easily on the skin, making the rash worse.
How is eczema treated?
Atopic eczema is not curable, but can be treated and controlled. Generally, eczema improves as the person gets older, particularly if atopic eczema starts in early childhood. It is especially important to use mild, unscented cleansers and moisturizers daily. Treatments include corticosteroid creams, antihistamines, antibiotics, immunosuppressants and UV light treatments.
How can Cary Dermatology Center help me?
The doctors at Cary Dermatology Center will evaluate your rash to determine whether you have atopic eczema, and if so will then tailor an atopic eczema skin care program to fit your needs. Appropriate medication will be prescribed to control the rash and help stop the itch. We also explain how to care for your skin, from the type of cleanser you use to the temperature of your bathwater.
Are there any new treatments?
Most people respond well to standard medical treatment, but some atopic eczema is very difficult to control. Protopic®, a new topical medication, holds promise for controlling severe atopic eczema. If you would like to discuss this or other treatments, please schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.