Eczema is actually a group of conditions that cause the skin to be inflamed or irritated. The most common type is called atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis. The term “atopic” refers to a group of diseases with a tendency to develop or cause other allergy conditions such as hay fever or asthma.
Approximately 3% of adults and children in the United States will develop this condition. The majority of infants who develop eczema will actually outgrow it by about age 10, but some will continue to have the symptoms throughout their lifetimes.
Causes of Eczema
While the exact cause is unknown, eczema is thought to be linked to a response to the body’s immune system to an irritant. Additionally, eczema is often found in families who have a history of allergies or asthma.
What Are the Symptoms?
Areas affected by eczema usually have skin that is dry, thickened, or scaly. In those with fair skin, the affected skin may appear red at first and then turn brown. In those with darker skin, the condition can affect pigmentation, causing the area to become darker or lighter.
Eczema is almost always itchy, and some people experience flare-ups when coming in contact with certain substances or conditions. For instance, flare ups can occur when a person comes in contact with such things as soap or detergent, animal dander, or even hot or cold temperatures.
While there is not a specific test to diagnose eczema, a trained physician can often diagnose eczema through a visual inspection and by asking a few questions.
How Is Eczema Treated
Because there is no cure for eczema, the treatment goal is to prevent and relieve the itching, which can lead to a skin infection. Because eczema causes dry, itchy skin, lotions and creams are often recommended to help keep the skin damp. Some over-the-counter products containing hydrocortisone 1% cream are often prescribed to help reduce inflammation. Additionally, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infections. Other treatments include antihistamines, cyclosporine, and topical immunomodulators.
If you are suffering from eczema or feel you need a true diagnosis, please contact us at St. Louis Laser Liposuction Center. Dr. Wright and his team will perform an initial examination and discuss your options. We want to ensure that each of our patients receives the best possible care, because we know how important it is to have the healthiest skin possible!