Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes a rash. The cause of eczema is unknown but can often happen in people that have allergies. Eczema can certainly be hereditary or run in the family. Symptoms of eczema may include:
- Cracking, flaking, peeling
Eczema is not contagious. Most patients with eczema have experienced it as a child. However, at different stages of life, the eczema rash may appear different. In infants, eczema typically affects the face including the cheeks and scalp and also the front of arms and legs. The diaper area is usually spared.
In older children and adults, eczema will typically affect the elbows, the back of the knees, and sides of the neck. In adults however, eczema may present on the hands, wrists, face, and forearms.
Most infants will outgrow eczema, however there will be some that will continue getting episodes throughout their life. Complications may occur from eczema including hyperpigmentation or thickening of the skin from scratching excessively. Scar formation may also occur from scarring. In more severe complications, bacterial infections may occur from scratching and bacteria from the nails entering the broken skin.
Treatments may include topical or oral medication. There are some basics that can be done to avoid making eczema worse including avoiding harsh soaps, perfumes, stress, excessive sweat, having dry skin, or wearing wool or synthetic fabrics. Please consult a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment for you.