Eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common dry, itchy rash seen mostly in children. It can start in infancy and persist into late childhood, usually resolving or reducing in adulthood.

What is eczema?

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common dry, itchy rash seen mostly in children. It can start in infancy and persist into late childhood, usually resolving or reducing in adulthood. The condition tends to run in families and is commonly associated with allergies and asthma. Typically, not a specific allergy, but a multitude of triggers, can flare the rash.

What causes eczema?

It is thought to be caused by a combination of factors:

  • Skin tends to be deficient in a protective barrier, making it hypersensitive to irritants.
  • The skin’s immune system may overreact to normal environmental exposures, making it more prone to infections.

What are the symptoms?

Eczema will look different in infants, children, and adults. For infants (around 2 to 3 months old), atopic dermatitis causes:

  • A dry, scaly, itchy rash that forms on the scalp and face (especially the cheeks)
  • Skin infections, due to scratching and rubbing
  • Trouble sleeping

Children between the ages of 2 and puberty often experience:

  • A rash that begins in the creases of the knees or elbows, but can form in the neck, wrists, ankles, and the creases between the legs and buttocks
  • Itchy, scaly patches where the rash appeared

In time the skin can get bumpy, thicken, lighten or darken, or itch constantly.

For adults, atopic dermatitis often:

  • Forms in the nape of the neck or the creases of the knees or elbows
  • Causes very dry, scaly skin and a constant itch
  • Commonly affects the hands and eyelids

How can I manage my eczema?

Managing eczema includes avoiding irritants, hydrating skin, calming the itch and inflammation, and treating skin infections as needed. Caring for the skin is a daily process for parents and eczema patients. A good skincare regimen will include thick emollients and topical steroids. Other options may consist of non-steroidal ointments, bleach baths, wet wraps, and medications such as antibiotics and antihistamines as needed.

Avoid common skin irritants such as wool clothes, overheating, sweating, emotional stress, bubble baths and soaps, cigarette smoke, friction, and low humidity. Excessive scratching or even a mild upper respiratory or ear infection can also trigger flares.

Repeated eczema flares can be frustrating, but if you follow a good skin care routine, they occur less frequently. When eczema flares, a good action plan with prescription ointments on hand is helpful to calm the skin and return to your baseline quickly.

Request a consultation in Meridian, Idaho

If you or your child has eczema, schedule an appointment at Boise Dermatology & Medspa in Meridian. We can help you or your child control flares, prevent new flares from happening, reduce skin inflammation, and treat any infections. Call (208) 888-0660 or request a consultation on our website today.


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