Eczema is Hard to Spell and Hard to Deal With

medical dermatologyEczema isn’t unusual in infants — about one in five babies have eczema. But they don’t know any better, and they usually outgrow it in a few years. Three percent of adults get eczema, and that’s an itchy, scratchy pain. And it can linger.

Dr. Matsuda and Dr. Sheu can help with your eczema, getting the condition under control before you lose your mind.

What is eczema?

An eczema is a group of medical conditions where the skin becomes inflamed and irritated. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. This type of eczema is usually linked to an inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions, such as hay fever or asthma.

How do I know if I have eczema?

Itchiness = eczema. Eczema is almost all cases makes the skin itchy. Sometimes an area will become itchy before the rash appears. Those rashes commonly appear on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. Rashes can occur on other parts of the body in rarer cases.

The affected skin will appear very dry, raised/thickened, or scaly. If you have fair skin, the rashes initially show up as reddish patches and then turn brown. If you have darker skin, eczema can mess with pigmentation, making the area either lighter or darker.

In infants, eczema usually is a crusty, oozing rash on the face and scalp.

The causes

Eczema isn’t fully understood, but it is linked to an overactive response from your body’s immune system to an irritant. The response causes the symptoms noted above. Families with an extensive history of allergies or asthma are often prone to eczema, as well.

For some people, flare-ups come after contact with certain triggering substances or conditions. It could be exposure to a household product or chemical, it could be animal dander, it could be course/rough materials, or even a person was feeling too hot or too cold. There can be other triggers, too. The condition is not contagious.

Treating eczema

At Matsuda, our goal is to relieve the itching caused by eczema. Cold compresses and lotions applied after bathing are helpful. We may opt for hydrocortisone creams or prescription creams with corticosteroids. We may even prescribe antibiotics if itching has led to infection. Other more involved treatments can involve ultraviolet light, cyclosporine, and even two new drugs called topical immunomodulators (Elidel and Protopic).

If you are suffering from eczema, don’t deal with it by yourself. See us at Matsuda, and we’ll help stop the itching. Call us at 808-949-7568.