Eczema is a general term for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become dry, itchy, red and inflamed. There are many types of eczema. The most common type is atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis (AD) often presents as an itchy, red rash or dry, scaly patches on the skin. We see AD most commonly in kids, but it can develop at any time. It commonly shows up on the face, inside of elbows, and behind the knees, but it can also show up anywhere on the body.
There are many different cells involved in your immune system that triggers AD, and usually it is a combination of genes and triggers in the environment, such as pollen or animal dander. Weather changes, chemicals, and certain types of clothing can also trigger AD. Less commonly, certain foods can be a trigger for AD as well.
Children and families with history of allergies (“hay fever”) and asthma are more likely to develop AD. Unfortunately, there is no cure for AD, however there are several very safe and effective treatment options. The most important parts of treatment is daily bathing and moisturizing, avoiding triggers, and using medications as directed.
There are many topical treatments available (both topical steroids and non-steroid options) as well as oral medications, special bathing techniques and wraps, and even a specialized biologic medication that is safe to use for AD.
Eczema can be very frustrating, because even if you feel you are doing everything correctly, your eczema can still flare without any trigger exposure. Parents and patients are often wondering, “What did I get into to make my eczema flare?” Eczema flares “out of the blue” are common, and happen no matter how consistent you are with treatment. You’re not alone! It’s important to follow up with your allergist regularly to discuss the best treatment for you. If you are struggling with eczema, come in for an appointment! We can help you identify your triggers and come up with a safe and effective treatment plan personalized for you.