Eczema is the term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become irritated. Eczema affects about 10-20 percent of infants and about 3 percent of adults and children in the U.S. Most infants outgrow their eczema by age 10. The most common type of eczema is known at atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema, and in some people outbreaks can occur throughout their lives.
October is Eczema Awareness Month, and since we treat a fair amount of eczema at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, let’s help with that awareness by providing some information on this most irritating skin condition.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
Itching is the main symptom of eczema, no matter where it occurs on your skin. Often the itching begins before a rash shows itself. When the rash develops, it is usually on the face, wrists, hands, feet, or the back of the knees.
Areas affected by eczema will appear very dry, scaly, and thickened. When the person has fair skin, these areas may appear reddish and then turn brown. In those with darker skin tones, their eczema can affect pigmentation, either darkening or lightening the affected area.
In infants, eczema usually shows up on the face and scalp, where it can produce an oozing, crusting condition.
What is the cause of eczema?
It has been difficult for science to find a direct cause for Eczema, but it’s thought the condition is linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to an irritant. The irritant itself doesn’t cause the scaly skin and itching, it’s your body’s immune response that causes these symptoms.
In some people, they can have an outbreak of eczema in response to certain substances or conditions. For some, these may be rough or coarse materials. For others, exposure to certain household cleaners or soaps can be the trigger. In others, it may be animal dander or simply feeling too hot or too cold. Stress can make eczema worse.
Eczema is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma.
At the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, we can usually diagnose your eczema from a simple skin exam. If we think it is allergy triggered, we may do patch testing to find the allergens responsible.
For treatment we have many options: prescription topical creams, oral medications, and narrow band UVB light therapy.
Do you think you have eczema? We can help. Call the team at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, 503.297.3440, to schedule an appointment.
October is Eczema Awareness Month. At the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, we see a lot of this irritating skin condition and want to share some information with you if you have eczema.
Eczema causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy, and irritated. There are different types of eczema. The most common type is atopic dermatitis.
Who gets eczema?
Only about 3 percent of adults in the U.S. develop eczema, but the condition tends to be chronic. Genetics tend to play a role. People with eczema often have a family history of allergies. In fact, a person could have all three conditions called the atopic triad: Eczema, allergies, and asthma.
Even young people can get eczema. One in five infants develops the condition. But it usually goes away by the time they reach puberty.
Eczema can start as an itch and develop into a rash. That’s why eczema is sometimes referred to as “the itch that rashes.” The rash is more common on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet, but it can appear anywhere on the body. The dry pink rash becomes thicker with time.
In infant eczema, the rash can become an oozing, crusting condition, indicating the skin has become infected.
What causes eczema?
The exact cause of eczema is still a mystery. Like allergies, eczema can be a byproduct of the body’s immune system overreacting to an irritant.
Eczema flare-ups can happen when the skin is exposed to certain substances or conditions. These are some common eczema triggers:
- Contact with rough or course materials or even sweat.
- Dry weather or indoor air.
- Exposure to allergens such as pollen or pet dander.
- Exposure to fragrances or chemicals.
- Stress (either emotional or from an illness).
Diagnosis and treatment
Do you think you have eczema? There’s no reason why you should suffer. We’ll help put an end to the itch.
At the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, we treat eczema in many of our patients. We can diagnose the condition by simply examining your skin, asking you a few questions, and conducting an allergy test if allergens are involved.
We can help treat the itching and rashes with prescription topical creams, oral medications, and light treatments. And if the rashes become infected, we can prescribe you antibiotics.
Call the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery at 503-297-3440.
October is eczema awareness month and those of us at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery want to share some facts about eczema.
Eczema is the name of a skin condition that causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy, and irritated. There are various types of eczema, but the most common is atopic dermatitis.
Who gets eczema?
Eczema is more common in infants than adults. Up to one fifth of infants develop the condition but most outgrow it by puberty. About three percent of U.S. adults develop eczema. Unfortunately, if adults develop the condition it is more likely to be chronic.
Eczema is commonly found in families with a history of allergies. In fact, eczema, allergies, and asthma are known as the atopic triad.
Eczema is almost always itchy. It is usually accompanied by a rash, although the itching commonly starts first. For this reason eczema is sometimes referred to as “the itch that rashes.” The rash is more common on the face, the back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet but can appear anywhere. Eczema typically looks like dry pink patches that can become thickened over time.
In infants the rash can become an oozing, crusting condition indicating that the skin has become infected.
What causes eczema?
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. Like allergies, eczema is thought to be a byproduct of the body’s immune system overreacting to an irritant.
Flare-ups can be in response to certain substances or conditions. Common causes of eczema flares are:
- contact with rough or course materials or even sweat
- exposure to fragrance or chemicals
- stress (including emotional stress or illness)
- exposure to allergens (pollen, pet dander, etc)
- dry weather or environments
Diagnosis and treatment
At the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery we can usually diagnose eczema by a simple examination of your skin and by asking a couple questions. In some cases skin allergy testing can be helpful to alleviate flares related to topical allergies.
Our goal for treatment is to relieve itching and the rash. Prescription topical creams to calm the skin’s immune response are often very helpful. If eczema becomes extensive oral medications or light treatments can be very useful. Antibiotics are used when skin has become secondarily infected.
With current medications available today no one has to suffer unnecessarily with eczema any longer. Call us at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, 503-297-3440 for a personalized plan to treat your eczema or other skin condition.
Dr. Bernard Gasch, an expert dermatologist at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery in Portland, Oregon, reports that Eczema Awareness Month is fast-approaching. With Eczema Awareness Month set to begin on October 1, Dr. Gasch takes a minute to discuss this condition, which can often be uncomfortable as well as debilitating.
“Eczema is a chronic skin condition, which flares periodically. When the condition flares, intensely itchy, rough, bright-red, and occasionally blistering rashes may appear on the skin,” Dr. Gasch says. Approximately 15 million Americans suffer from eczema, yet many never seek professional help for their condition. According to Dr. Gasch, it is important that patients seek advice from a dermatologist, who can give them various up-to-date and effective treatment options in hopes of not only resolving their eczema, but also preventing it from becoming widespread as well as infected.
Dr. Gasch explains that although eczema may appear on any part of the body, it is usually found on the arms and legs. Despite the exact cause of eczema being unknown, many have linked it to genetics, as well as dry skin. In many cases, eczema, or atopic dermatitis, first appears in early childhood in children who suffer from environmental allergies. The initial eczema may improve with age, but often later manifests as skin allergic contact rashes, such as to fragrances and preservatives found in products applied to the skin.
“Eczema flares may be triggered by any number of factors including contact with soaps, shampoos, lotions, or even laundry detergents containing fragrances, preservatives, or certain dyes. It may also be worsened with contact with coarse materials found in clothing, including wool, especially in the wintertime. Stress, environmental allergies, and fighting off a cold or infection may also lead to an eczema flare,” says Dr. Gasch.
“I always tell my patients to avoid scratching their skin even when it is itchy.” We have various strategies including topical and oral agents which can help our patients with itching, all in an attempt to avoid scratching. Scratching will cause further irritation and cause the flare-up to become worse.
Patients must also be aware that, while there is no cure for eczema, there are plenty of effective treatment options. Although each patient’s needs differ, common treatments are prescription anti-inflammatory creams and oral medications, if needed. Also, if the skin becomes infected from scratching, oral antibiotics may be helpful. Nevertheless, appropriate moisturizers are necessary to hydrate the skin and form a protective barrier against contact allergens which the patient might be sensitive or even allergic to.
Dr. Gasch also emphasizes the importance of “patch test” skin allergy testing, especially in teens and adults who may be suffering from eczema-related rashes such as Contact Dermatitis. This form of skin testing is totally different from skin “prick tests” that are administered by allergists for discovering triggers for environmental allergies and asthma, not skin allergies. Skin patch testing, on the other hand, is performed by certain dermatology practices, including Dr. Gasch and Dr. Rydzik”s Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery. This testing reveals what the patient’s skin is allergic to. In other words, this testing identifies which ingredient the patient may be coming in contact with which may be causing or contributing to their eczema or eczema-related skin rash.
With Eczema Awareness Month set to begin in October, Dr. Gasch also says his practice will continue to emphasize the importance of patient education when it comes to controlling eczema and contact dermatitis.
Many patients who suffer from eczema and contact dermatitis are not only bothered by the fact that their skin is itching and has rashes, which maybe keeping them awake at night, but are also self-conscious about the appearance of their skin. Patients need to be aware that there are millions of people out there with same concerns, and that many of their symptoms can be relieved with the professional help of a qualified Dermatologist. I will continue to promote eczema education for my patients, and I will continue to encourage anyone with eczema to consult a compassionate, board-certified dermatologist who will help them manage their skin symptoms effectively.”
Interested in Learning More About Eczema and its Treatment? Contact Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery
For more information on eczema of your skin or other skin related disorders, contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery. You may speak to us by dialing 503.297.3440 or visit our offices in Hillsboro or Portland, Oregon. We look forward to hearing from you soon.