It’s itchy. It’s uncomfortable. It’s eczema. If you’re among the 30 million+ American’s dealing with this prickly, scratchy condition, you likely understand the pain and inflammation associated with this uncomfortable skin condition. For many people, eczema brings more than physical discomfort as the scaly, inflamed skin can make one feel self-conscious and anxious, too.
Even though there is no cure for eczema, the condition can be treated and managed to reduce inflammation, pain and the number of eczema flare ups. Keep reading to learn more about eczema, the eight common types of eczema, and how a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Doppelt can help you manage eczema so you can enjoy the skin you’re in without complication.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a general term for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed and irritated. It’s surprisingly common: Up to 20% of babies and children have eczema, along with up to 5% of adults according to information from the National Eczema Association. Most children and infants with eczema outgrow the condition by their 10th birthday; others battle eczema for their entire lives.
While there is no cure for eczema, the condition can be managed with care and treatment from a dermatologist.
What are the symptoms of Eczema?
Even though there are many types of eczema – the two most common are known as contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis – the symptoms often look quite similar. Tell-tale signs of eczema might include:
- Itchy patches on the body
- Scaly, thickened skin
- Dark or reddened patches in fair skinned people
- Lighter or darker patches in those with darker skin tones
In babies and young children, eczema often appears as an oozy, crusty rash on the face and scalp. In babies, eczema is sometimes called cradle cap.
What causes Eczema?
Researchers and dermatologists aren’t exactly sure what causes eczema, but it can be immune reaction caused by both genetic and environmental triggers. Before an eczema flare-up, an an irritant or an allergen might “switch on” the sufferer’s immune system. This stimulation causes the skin to react in a way that’s itchy and down-right uncomfortable.
It’s important to know that eczema is not contagious. You simply can’t “catch it” from someone else like you can a cold.
How many types of Eczema are there?
The National Eczema Association has identified eight types of eczema. A board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Doppelt can help you identify which type you might have. The eight types of eczema include:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic eczema
- Hand eczema
- Nummular eczema
- Stasis dermatitis
It is possible to have multiple kinds of eczema. Though all kinds of eczema are associated with itchy skin, others are associated with raised rashes, weeping or oozing skin, or peeling skin. According to Dr. Doppelt, atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema.
How is Eczema treated?
Though there is no cure for eczema, a successful treatment plan can help you manage symptoms and reduce the number of flare-ups experienced.
Though treatment is prescribed on an individual basis, the first line of defense is usually a corticosteroid cream or ointment. This can reduce the symptoms of a flair-up by relieving itchiness and swelling. Other treatment options for eczema might include systemic steroids, antibiotics, antihistamines, barrier moisturizers and more. A skilled, board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Doppelt can help you treat your eczema and relieve your symptoms.
Contact Southeastern Dermatology today to schedule an appointment and end the discomfort and stop the itching caused by eczema.