Eczema is a condition that causes dry, red, itchy patches of skin. It can easily be mistaken for dry skin, but it’s more than that. It’s chronic in some people while in others, eczema comes and goes. Those who get more intense bouts of excema may experience skin that cracks or crusts.

The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which is frequently seen in young children. Its cause is complex, as it’s typically a combination of environmental and genetic factors. In either scenario, the immune system overreacts to an allergen, which causes inflammation, which causes the patch or patches of red, itchy skin.

Symptoms of eczema include:

  • Itching, which is the most common symptom
  • Dryness
  • Red rash
  • Bumps
  • Scaly, leathery patches
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Swelling
  • Weeping of a clear fluid from the skin patch

It can occur anywhere on the skin.

Finding the cause of eczema is a crucial first step. Anything that irritates the skin can cause it, including allergens and lifestyle. For example, working with chemicals or even frequently having wet hands could be the cause. There are a range of other triggers, including hot weather, cold weather, low humidity, contact with nickel or another metal, and fragrance.

Your Surgical Dermatology Group provider will customize a treatment plan for you based on the type of eczema you have and the severity. Treatments include topical corticosteroids, topical immune-modifying medications and biologic drugs.

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