Eczema, also known as “dermatitis”, is a term used to describe a group of inflamed skin conditions that cause chronic, itchy rashes.  A common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema.  Other common forms include allergic contact dermatitis and nummular dermatitis.  Eczema can present as dry, red, itchy patches that occur on the skin. Sometimes, eczema can also be red, blistering, oozing, scaly, or thickened skin (similar to psoriasis).

In atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema, there is a tendency for excess inflammation in the skin.  This often occurs in patients with a history of allergies such as hay fever, asthma, or sensitive skin.  It is a common pediatric dermatology condition seen in infants, children, and young adults.  The skin rash is very itchy and can be limited to certain areas or widespread. Often, the condition improves with adolescence, but many patients can be affected throughout adulthood. It can be triggered or worsened by rough materials touching the skin, excessive heat or sweating, soap or other cosmetic products, dust mites, animal dander, illness, and stress. In addition to moisturizers, a dermatologist may prescribe a variety of topical medications, antibiotics, or antihistamines to improve eczema. For severe cases, drugs such as cyclosporine A or prednisone may be used. Although atopic dermatitis is a common condition, with proper treatment, the disease can be controlled in the majority of people.

 

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Please visit our patient education library for more information on eczema or atopic dermatitis