About Eczema and Treatments at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
Eczema is a very common, chronic skin condition that’s distinguished by irritated, inflamed, and itchy patches of skin. Eczema is not life-threatening but can cause itching, which typically induces scratching that can produce infection—making the condition more serious than a regular rash.
The causes of eczema can vary and there are many different beliefs about what causes this itchy skin condition. Eczema is believed to occur because of an overactive immune system response while other theories state that it’s caused by an overly sensitive epidermis; however, the most common theories include genetics, household products, beauty products, chemicals, certain foods, living organisms (mold, dust mites, etc.), fabrics and the environment. Our highly-skilled providers at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta offer several eczema treatments to patients based on their unique cause of their eczema.
There are many different beliefs about what causes this itchy skin condition. The most common theories include genetics, household products, beauty products, chemicals, certain foods, living organisms (mold, dust mites, etc.), fabrics and the environment.
Atopic eczema is the most common type of eczema. Genetics, environmental factors, skin cell renewal rate, and an overactive immune system are all factors that can contribute to atopic eczema. Most of our patients experience this particular type of eczema before the age of five, but it can occur and/or reoccur at any time in life.
Contact eczema develops as an immune response to substances that bother the skin. There are two sub-categories of contact eczema: irritant contact eczema (i.e. chemicals) and allergic contact eczema (i.e. poison ivy). Patients may experience allergic contact dermatitis without actually contacting the substance, making it hard to determine the exact cause.
With the exception of allergic contact dermatitis, which will clear up if the allergen is eliminated, eczema is a condition that is difficult to eliminate completely. However, eczema’s symptoms can be treated as they appear. The most important thing to remember if you suffer from eczema is DO NOT SCRATCH. Scratching can further irritate the skin and can even cause skin breakage that leads to infection. Below are some treatments that may help alleviate your eczema symptoms; although, it’s important to be seen by a dermatologist so they can prescribe the best treatment for your individual needs.
• Lukewarm baths (extreme temperature may irritate the skin)
• Specific body washes and moisturizers
• Cold compress
• Apply lotion directly after bathing
• Pastes or creams with anti-itch components
• Custom prescription compounds
• Light therapy (Laser treatment)
• Antibiotics (if infection is present)
• Cydosporine A (immunosuppressant to reduce allergies if other treatments do not help)
Eczema symptoms may clear up for a while; however, eczema may not ever completely go away so controlling symptoms is the best treatment goal. Schedule an appointment today with one of our board-certified dermatologists. After taking a close look at your skin condition, they can set up a treatment regimen to suit your needs.
For patients with eczema, skin allergies, or simply sensitive skin, certain triggers can initiate symptoms or make them worse. DAA has been expanding our allergy testing program to identify as many of these as possible. We are proud to offer patch testing, which uses a needle-free method to evaluate your skin’s reaction to irritants and allergens. Additionally, we routinely go beyond the limited, commercially-available testing supplies to offer the most comprehensive patch testing as well as additional modes of testing. By identifying the unique triggers that cause or worsen your rashes, itching, and redness, we are able to offer you customized skin care products and recommendations about caring for your skin’s specific needs.
What is the difference between eczema and atopic dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis is serve type of eczema. In general, eczema refers to any type of dermatitis or inflamed skin. These two terms are often used interchangeably.
Is eczema contagious?
No, eczema is not contagious. Eczema is often thought to be caused by genetics, environmental factors, and/or overactive immune system.
Where does eczema typically appear on the body?
Although eczema can appear nearly anywhere on the body, however, common affected areas include the face, inside of knees, elbows, neck, and ankles.