Eczema comes and goes, but when the condition flares up, it causes intense itching and an embarrassing skin rash. At Allergy & Asthma Institute of Southeast Michigan, Chad W. Mayer, DO, FAAAAI, FAAP, and Ronda Barak-Norris, MD, FACAAI, have extensive experience treating children and adults with eczema, creating individualized care plans that stop the itch, reduce inflammation, and relieve their symptoms. To get the help you need, call the office in Farmington Hills, Michigan, or request an appointment online today.
Eczema refers to atopic dermatitis. However, eczema isn’t just one condition. It also serves as an umbrella term that includes several inflammatory skin conditions. Of the different types included under the umbrella, the most common are atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis.
Atopic and contact dermatitis cause similar symptoms, but they follow a different course:
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) seems to arise from genetic changes that affect the skin barrier. This condition usually begins in childhood, often in a baby’s first six months. It causes a dry, scaly rash that’s purple, brown, or grayish and comes and goes in response to triggers.
The hallmark symptom of eczema is intense itching. The itch causes scratching and rubbing that damage the skin barrier and worsen the condition. Ongoing scratching leads to thick, hardened skin and also makes the rash ooze and bleed, resulting in recurrent infections.
Contact dermatitis occurs when a substance touches your skin and causes irritation or an allergic reaction. Common causes of contact dermatitis include soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, and plants like poison ivy and poison oak. Contact dermatitis causes a very itchy rash similar to atopic dermatitis, except that it’s red.
If you have allergies, your eczema probably flares up in response to your allergens. Common triggers include:
Just having dry skin can trigger eczema.
Your eczema treatment plan may include:
Eczema develops when the skin barrier breaks down. As a result, it’s essential to protect and strengthen the barrier with gentle skin care. Your regimen may include frequently applying a moisturizer, using irritant-free skin care products, and taking short showers in warm water.
If allergies trigger your eczema flare, your provider recommends strategies to help. These may include avoiding allergens and getting immunotherapy (allergy shots, sublingual tablets, and oral immunotherapy).
Your provider may prescribe topical or oral medication to reduce inflammation and relieve the itching. People with severe eczema may qualify for biologic therapy. Biologic medications fight inflammation by calming your immune system.
If you have an itchy, uncomfortable rash, call Allergy & Asthma Institute of Southeast Michigan or request an appointment online today.