Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions in the United States, affecting more than 30 million Americans today. While it doesn’t generally cause health complications, it can still have a strong impact on a patient’s quality of life by leaving him/her self-conscious and physically uncomfortable. If you have eczema, know some who has it, or suspect that you may have eczema, our board-certified dermatologists and physician assistants at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta have all the facts you need to know.
Fact #1: “Eczema” actually describes a variety of conditions.
Most people use the term “eczema” when they’re talking about one specific condition, atopic dermatitis, which is a chronic condition that causes dry, itchy, inflamed patches of skin. However, there are actually many types of eczema. Other than atopic dermatitis, the most common types of dermatitis include:
- Contact dermatitis: a rash that develops when your skin comes into contact with an irritant or when your skin has an allergic reaction
- Dyshidrotic eczema: your skin doesn’t have the defensive barriers it needs so you frequently develop dry, itchy rashes
- Neurodermatitis: a recurring itch develops on your skin for no apparent reason, often in times of stress, and this can lead to further inflammation and irritation from scratching the itch
- Nummular dermatitis: a rash of oval-shaped sores develop, usually after a skin injury like a burn, insect bite, or abrasion
- Stasis dermatitis: the skin of the lower legs swells and discolors due to poor circulation
Fact #2: Eczema isn’t contagious.
Researchers don’t know the exact cause of eczema, but most types appear to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. We do know, however, that neither the condition nor the symptoms are contagious.
Fact #3: Eczema isn’t curable, but it’s treatable.
While there isn’t a “cure” we can offer to eliminate eczema, the condition eventually goes away for most people and in the meantime there are a variety of eczema treatments that can manage the symptoms. Depending on the type and severity of your eczema, our experienced providers will design a treatment plan which may include prescription topical medications, laser treatments, antihistamines, specialized body washes and moisturizers, antibiotics, and more.
Fact #4: Eczema symptoms often flare up in response to specific triggers.
For many types of eczema, the symptoms come and go based on certain factors in your environment. Identifying these triggers can help you minimize your symptoms, but they’re different for each person. At Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s Eczema Center, we perform comprehensive needle-free patch testing to evaluate your skin’s reaction to certain substances and find your individual triggers.
Fact #5: Most kids outgrow eczema.
The type of eczema most people know, atopic dermatitis, often develops in kids or babies. As hard as it is for a parent to watch their kids in discomfort, the good news is that this type of eczema often goes away as kids get older. Keep in mind, however, that there are no guarantees and that kids can get serious infections from scratching their eczema, so it’s still important to have your child’s condition diagnosed and treated.
Eczema can be a frustrating condition because the symptoms keep coming back at inopportune times. The good news, though, is that with treatment from an experienced and qualified medical professional, you’re likely to enjoy more symptom-free time as well as less severe symptoms when a flare up does occur. To find out what we can do for your eczema, schedule an appointment at DAA. Plus, follow Dermatology Associates of Atlanta on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more skin care tips.