Eczema in Smithtown NY
MARINA I. PEREDO, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Skin conditions can be irritating and affect your daily life. At Spatique Medical Spa, we understand the needs of our patients who have eczema, and we are dedicated to providing the appropriate treatment to control the condition.
What is eczema?
Eczema is the term given to a group of conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. Although not technically a disease, eczema has similarities to a group of diseases where there are inherited tendencies to develop allergic reactions such as asthma and hay fever. Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopic eczema, is the most common kind of eczema.
Another type of eczema, contact dermatitis, develops after a person comes in contact with an allergy-triggering substance such as nickel, various cosmetics, poison ivy, or chemicals. Antibiotics may be required to address contact dermatitis.
Eczema is more prevalent in infants - about 10% to 20% of infants have it. Only roughly 3% of children and adults in the United States have the condition. The majority of infants with eczema outgrow it by the time they reach the age of 10. However, some people continue to have intermittent symptoms for the rest of their lives. The condition is usually controllable when it is properly treated.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
Itchiness - that's the main symptom of eczema, no matter what body part is affected. A rash will usually appear on the face, wrists, back of the knees, hands, or feet. But eczema can affect other areas, as well.
The affected areas will look very dry, scaly, or thickened. For people with fair skin, the rash will initially look reddish and then turn a brownish shade. In those with darker skin, eczema can affect skin pigmentation, making the area look darker or lighter.
Especially in infants, the rash can develop into an oozing, crusting condition.
What are the causes of eczema?
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. However, it is believed to be due to an overactive reaction of the immune system to irritants. This is similar to how the body reacts when allergic to something such as pollen. In fact, eczema is common in families with a genetic history of allergies or asthma.
Some individuals experience a "flare-up" of the itchy rash once they are exposed to irritants or certain conditions. The skin may become itchy when it comes into contact with rough materials. Animal dander, extreme temperatures, and some household products can also lead to an outbreak. Symptoms may also be triggered by colds and other respiratory infections, and they are made worse by stress.
There is no cure for eczema, but it can usually be managed effectively with medical treatment and by avoiding irritants. Eczema is not contagious.
How is eczema treated?
The treatment goal is to prevent and relieve itching, as it can cause infection. Since the condition keeps the skin itchy and dry, it is advisable to use creams and lotions to help moisturize the skin. These products are typically applied when the skin is still damp to help retain moisture. Itching can also be relieved by applying cold compresses.
Over-the-counter products like hydrocortisone, or prescription corticosteroid-containing ointments and creams may be used to reduce inflammation. Antibiotics may be necessary if an infection develops from scratching. Antihistamines, tar treatments, phototherapy, and certain drugs may be tried if the condition doesn't respond to other treatments.
How can I prevent eczema flare-ups?
Sometimes outbreaks can be avoided or their severity reduced by following these tips.
- Moisturize your skin regularly.
- Manage stress.
- Avoid rough, coarse, or scratchy materials (such as wool).
- Avoid sudden temperature or humidity changes.
- Avoid harsh soaps and detergents.
- Identify foods that cause outbreaks and avoid them.
Let us help with your eczema
At Spatique, medical skin conditions and general dermatology are our top priority. So, don't think you have to try and manage your eczema alone. Let's tackle it together!