Eczema is a chronic condition that causes patches of flaky, itchy, dry skin. Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema often affects children, resolving by adulthood, but it can affect adults as well. Some people have eczema throughout their lives beginning in childhood, while others may develop eczema as adults. When scratched or rubbed, the dry, flaky patches of skin can becoming irritated, weeping and even bleeding, increasing the risk of skin infection. Often, a scaly, rough crust will form over the area. When the skin in the affected areas is repeatedly scratched, it can eventually become rough and leathery.
The underlying cause of eczema is unknown, but researchers believe it occurs as a result of an inflammatory response that occurs when the skin is exposed to certain triggers like soaps or detergents, cosmetics or facial care products, or from triggers like perspiration or extreme changes in temperature. People with a family history of eczema are more likely to have it themselves, and the condition is also more common among people with asthma and allergies.
No, eczema is not contagious, which means it cannot be passed from one person to another.
Eczema usually can be diagnosed during an office visit with a visual examination of the skin. In a few cases, a small sample of skin cells may be removed from the skin surface for further evaluation to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
Some milder symptoms of eczema can be relieved with a change in detergents, soaps and other products that come in contact with the skin. Taking shorter or cooler showers and avoiding long soaks in a tub or hot tub can also reduce symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Moderate to severe symptoms may require antihistamines or hydrocortisone creams to reduce inflammation and control itching. Prescription medications and therapies like UV light therapy can also be helpful in severe cases. Seeing a dermatologist for regular evaluations helps ensure eczema symptoms remain under control so patients can find long-term relief for itching and flaking.
At Luminous Dermatology, we accept most major medical PPO insurance plans. Here is a short list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office and ask for Jan if you do not see your insurance provider listed. We accept Affordable Care Act plans. We do not take HMO plans.
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