What is it?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a form of dermatitis (inflamed skin) that can affect adults as well as children and infants. The early stages of eczema are characterized by red, blistering skin. The condition can progress to be scaly, patchy and thickened skin that almost always itches. Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is an inherited skin condition present in about 20% of children. It usually appears before the age of three and 75% of people see it clear by age 25. It has been characterized by extreme itching since itching is the first symptom. In small children, this condition might appear on the cheeks moving to the arms, legs and particularly the creases of the elbows and knees.
What are the causes of eczema?
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis or eczema of the skin remains unknown. However, the condition can occur as an abnormal response of our immune systems. It can also be triggered by exposure to certain substances or in people with sensitive skin. Asthma or hay fever also might trigger the onset of eczema.
How can it be prevented?
Eczema can be avoided by regularly moisturizing the skin, avoiding extreme or sudden temperature changes, reducing stress and overheating, avoiding irritating fabrics and harsh soaps and avoiding known allergens.
What are the treatments?
The most effective and safe treatment for inflammatory skin diseases including eczema available today is Excimer laser phototherapy. This FDA approved, insurance reimbursed treatment promotes faster clearing and longer remission than conventional ultraviolet light phototherapy. The Excimer laser delivers a precisely targeted, high dose of ultraviolet light to the inflamed area through a handpiece that rests directly on the skin. It is ideal for reaching hard-to-treat areas and successfully treats patients with mild to moderate conditions.
The main goal of Eczema treatment is to prevent the frequent scratching of the itchy skin. Treatment generally includes an overall skin care plan, an environmental plan that monitors clothing, known allergens and irritants, proper bathing habits and humidity control. Topical and systematic steroids might be used to treat the condition. Prescription medications include potent corticosteroid creams and ointments or oral corticosteroids.