Eczema is a chronic skin rash caused by inflammation and affects people of all ages. Board-certified allergists Bernard Geller, MD, Ph.D., and Sanny Chan, MD, Ph.D. at Allergy and Clinical Immunology Medical Group treat patients in Santa Monica, California, who experience symptoms of eczema.
Eczema characterizes a group of conditions that affect the skin. Also known as atopic dermatitis, the symptoms of eczema can be controlled with proper medication. Itching, the first sign of the condition, may occur before rashes, which can appear anywhere on the body. In children, eczema usually appears in the inner creases of the knees and elbows. Eczema rashes present as dry, thick skin that may be darker or lighter than the surrounding skin. Irritants in the environment and hereditary allergies often cause eczema.
Eczema is genetic (i.e. filaggrin gene) running in people who carry certain genes that cause people to have overly sensitive skin. Other factors include an over-sensitive immune system (which is what causes allergies), skin barrier defects such as the escape of moisture from the skin, as well as things like stress, extreme temperatures, dry skin, and contact with irritants such as certain soaps and fabrics.
Creams and lotions that include anti-itch medication can help keep skin affected by eczema soft and moisturized. Topical treatments also control inflammation and discomfort. Cold compresses can be applied to soothe irritated areas. Your provider will recommend hydrocortisone cream to help control and alleviate the itching.
Oral antihistamines can control allergic reactions within the body that trigger eczema rashes. Photo or light therapy also may be beneficial as atopic dermatitis or eczema treatment.
Eczema itself can’t be cured. If the root of the condition is treated and cured, eczema symptoms should disappear and not return. When eczema occurs in children, they may eventually outgrow it.
In most cases, treating the symptoms helps minimize the condition's impact on a person's life. While the appearance of the rash may be unsightly, the itch can cause extreme discomfort. Scratching can worsen the appearance of the rash and may lead to infection if lesions occur.
With a proper treatment plan, eczema can be managed so that it doesn’t pose a significant problem. Call or schedule an appointment online so you can gain control over your eczema.