Eczema, otherwise known as atopic dermatitis, is a common childhood skin problem that affects as many as 20% of children worldwide. While it’s possible for adults to develop the condition, nearly all cases of eczema first appear during childhood. Although eczema is a long-term condition, it can be controlled with proper management strategies. At Indigo Dermatology in Melbourne, FL, Tampa, FL & Palm Bay, FL, dermatologist Dr. Sumeet Thareja provides comprehensive care for patients of all ages with eczema. To learn more, call or book your appointment online today.
Eczema Q & A
What is eczema?
Eczema is a common chronic skin condition that mostly affects young children. In fact, approximately 90% of people who have eczema developed the condition before their 50th birthday, while only about half of the people who developed childhood eczema continue to have some symptoms as an adult.
Babies who develop eczema before their first birthday often get dry, red, scaly patches on their cheeks, forehead, and scalp.
Children who develop eczema after the age of two are more likely to experience it in the form of a rash that appears in the creases of their elbows or knees, or along their neck, wrists, or ankles.
In adults, eczema is more likely to cover much of the body, and it can also be especially severe on the neck, face, and around the eyes.
No matter where it appears, eczema can be very itchy. The itchiness may be intense enough to disrupt sleep, and it may also cause patients of any age to scratch their skin until it breaks, leaving it prone to infection.
Is there a way to cure eczema?
Eczema is a chronic skin disorder, meaning that while it can be successfully managed, it can’t be cured.
Although researchers don’t yet know exactly what causes eczema, it appears to have a genetic component: Children who develop eczema are usually closely related to someone who has either eczema, hay fever, or asthma.
About half of all children with eczema will continue to have mild symptoms as an adult. Many babies who develop the condition in early infancy, on the other hand, no longer have any symptoms by their second birthday.
What are eczema management strategies?
Proper treatment and an eczema-friendly skin care routine can go a long way in alleviating discomfort.
If you want to prevent eczema from worsening, alleviate symptoms, and avoid skin infection, it’s important to manage the condition effectively. Dr. Thareja will develop a customized treatment plan that helps:
- Reduce inflammation
- Relieve itching and pain
- Clear any infection
- Loosen and remove lesions
- Decrease new lesions
Effective eczema management also includes avoiding any known eczema triggers. Although you may not always know what causes a flare-up, some of the most common eczema triggers include:
- Stress and sweat
- Irritating detergents and soaps
- Dry air and sunburns
Daily eczema management includes a controlled skin regimen that involves bathing and moisturizing as recommended.
Showers or baths should be warm, not hot, and last no longer than 10 minutes. Cleansers, which should only be used when needed, should be mild and fragrance-free. It’s important to apply topical medications and moisturizer just after bathing when skin is still slightly damp.