ECZEMA (or dermatitis) is a general term referring to an inflammatory skin condition (rash) that may appear as red, dry, itchy patches on the skin. More severe patches may have blistering or oozing. Persistent areas may have thickened or cracked skin. There are many types of eczema and any area of the skin may be involved.
One common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. Although the cause is unknown, it appears to represent an abnormal immune system response in the skin. This type of eczema is thought to have a genetic basis, and many of these patients also suffer from allergic rhinitis or asthma, or have family members who do. Frequently, but not always, children with this problem find that it improves or even disappears as they get older.
Another type of eczema is allergic contact dermatitis. This is a true skin allergy to something, such as “poison ivy” or nickel in costume jewelry. Yet another type is known as irritant contact dermatitis which is caused by skin contact with harsh or irritating substances.
The physicians at Limmer Dermatology can recommend many options for treating eczema. These include preventive strategies such as avoidance of trigger factors, daily moisturizing, and mild skin care products. Treatment of affected areas can include topical corticosteroids, cool compresses, oral antihistamines, and others.
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