Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)


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What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is a common skin condition that can affect babies, young children, children, teens, and adults. It is characterized by itchy, inflamed, dry, flaky, and rough patches of skin. Scratching eczema will further irritate and inflame the skin, which can cause infections that must be treated with antibiotics.

While there is no cure and the cause of eczema is not yet known, it is believed to be triggered by an overactive immune system that reacts aggressively to irritants. Common triggers of eczema flare-ups may include:

  • Synthetic fabrics.
  • Chemicals in cleaners and detergents.
  • Sweating.
  • Stress.
  • Temperature changes.
  • Food allergies.
  • Animal dander.
  • And more.

Eczema can look a little bit different for everyone, and flare-ups may not always happen in the same areas. Be sure not to itch your skin, as this can lead to open sores and other complications. If you are concerned regarding open wounds or blisters due to scratching, be sure to see a doctor right away.

Eczema FAQs

At what age does eczema go away?

If an infant has eczema, the symptoms will likely improve with age. However, for people who experience eczema flareups into adulthood, it likely will not go away without treatment and/or lifestyle changes.

Do I have eczema or psoriasis?

Your dermatologist should be able to help determine which problem you have.

Does eczema get worse in the winter?

For many people, eczema is worse in the winter.

Does eczema go away on its own?

Sometimes.

Is Eczema a fungus?

No

Where is eczema most common?

Eczema is commonly seen in the folds of elbows and knees and many other locations.

What soap is good for eczema?

We recommend Dove soap unscented for the body and Cerave or Cetaphil for the face.

Can eczema be caused by stress?

Eczema symptoms can worsen with stress for some patients.

Can eczema be a sign of cancer?

A diagnosis of atopic dermatitis does not have a link to cancer, although skin cancer can cause symptoms that appear similar to eczema.

Can eczema make you feel tired?

Patients with eczema may feel fatigued more than those who do not have the condition.

Can eczema be a sign of something else?

Some patients with eczema may be more likely to also have another dermatologic condition. In addition, other conditions such as lupus, seborrheic keratosis, or psoriasis can have symptoms that are similar to eczema.

Can Eczema turn into psoriasis?

No. Eczema and psoriasis are two different diseases, although they can present with very similar symptoms. One cannot develop into the other.

Does eczema spread by touch?

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is not contagious and does not spread by touch.

Can eczema be caused by hypothyroidism?

Skin rashes, redness, and other changes in skin condition are linked to thyroid disease, but are not the same as eczema.

Can you suddenly get eczema?

Although eczema most often occurs in children and young adults, older adults can develop the condition suddenly whether theyve had it before or not.

Does eczema get worse as you age?

Because skin can tend to get drier with age, symptoms of eczema can become more common as the skin is more prone to developing the condition.

Does hydrocortisone help eczema?

Hydrocortisone can be an effective over-the-counter solution to mild eczema, although its potency is much lower than medication you can get at a dermatologists office.

How long does eczema last?

Depending on the type of eczema, a flare-up thats treated well and avoids the trigger can go away in a few weeks.

At what age does eczema go away?

Many infants have eczema that they later “grow out of.” This usually occurs around age three.

Can eczema be caused by stress?

Eczema symptoms can worsen with stress for some patients.

Can eczema be a sign of cancer?

Certain types of skin cancer may present with symptoms similar to eczema, such as rough or scaly patches of skin.

Can eczema make you feel tired?

Patients with eczema may feel fatigued more than those who do not have the condition.

Can eczema be a sign of something else?

Some patients with eczema may be more likely to also have another dermatologic condition. In addition, other conditions such as lupus, seborrheic keratosis, or psoriasis can have symptoms that are similar to eczema.

At what age does eczema go away?

Many infants have eczema that they later “grow out of.” This usually occurs around age three.

Can eczema be a sign of cancer?

Certain types of skin cancer may present with symptoms similar to eczema, such as rough or scaly patches of skin.

Can eczema be a sign of something else?

Some patients with eczema may be more likely to also have another dermatologic condition. In addition, other conditions such as lupus, seborrheic keratosis, or psoriasis can have symptoms that are similar to eczema.

Can eczema be caused by stress?

Eczema symptoms can worsen with stress for some patients.

Can eczema make you feel tired?

Patients with eczema may feel fatigued more than those who do not have the condition.

Can eczema be caused by hypothyroidism?

There is a link between thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism and eczema.

Atopic Dermatitis Treatment Options

The treatment option that is right for you will depend on the severity of your eczema symptoms and your lifestyle. Dr. Erwin will carefully assess your skin to determine the best treatment option for you. Some of the most popular atopic dermatitis treatments include:

Medications

Antihistamines

Over-the-counter antihistamines may help to relieve itching of the skin. They work by blocking histamine, which causes allergic reactions.

Steroids

Steroid creams and ointments can also relieve itching and scaling. In more severe cases, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed.

Immunosuppressants

These prescription medications prevent the immune system from overreacting, preventing flare-ups. There is also a new medication available called Dupixent, that may be appropriate. 

Therapies

Another treatment option may include light therapy, or phototherapy, which uses ultraviolet light to help prevent immune system responses. A series of treatments are often needed to see results.

Lifestyle Changes

Changes in your lifestyle can help to improve symptoms, as stress can make symptoms worse. Some ways to reduce stress include:

  • Deep breathing exercises.
  • Meditation.
  • Yoga.
  • Listening to relaxing music.
  • Getting enough sleep.

Cold compresses and soaking in a lukewarm bath can also help to alleviate itching. Ask Dr. Erwin about other lifestyle changes that may be helpful.

Ideal Candidates for Atopic Dermatitis Treatment

Anyone with eczema who has symptoms that are bothersome, uncomfortable, or disrupts their daily activities can often benefit from atopic dermatitis treatment. The best way to determine which treatment option is the best for you will be through an appointment with Dr. Erwin, during which she will assess your eczema and symptoms.

Contact Us Today

If you would like to learn more about available atopic dermatitis treatments, contact our office by calling 979-543-9933! We will assist you in scheduling your appointment with Dr. Erwin, which is your first step toward treatment. During your appointment, you will be able to speak with Dr. Erwin regarding your symptoms and concerns, and she will assess your skin to properly diagnose and treat you.