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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.

What’s 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.