What is Eczema?
Eczema, a.k.a atopic dermatitis, is a very common skin condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is a chronic condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. Eczema can occur at any age, but it’s most common in children. This October, in honor of Eczema Awareness Month, HMGS Dermatology is educating our patients on the symptoms to look out for and who is at a higher risk of developing this condition.
Symptoms of Eczema
Eczema is a very irritating skin condition that results in dry, inflamed, and itchy skin. Its severity can vary from one individual to the next and can develop anywhere on the body. Eczema symptoms can include:
- Dry, cracked skin
- Itchiness (pruritus)
- Swollen skin or rash that differs in color depending on one’s skin tone
- Raised, tiny bumps on black or brown skin
- Oozing and crusting
- Thickened skin
- Darkening of the skin around the eyes
- Raw, sensitive skin from scratching
- Red or brownish-gray patches on the skin
- Skin that is rough, scaly, or leathery to the touch
It’s important to remember that eczema symptoms can vary widely from person to person, and not everyone will experience all of the above symptoms. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Eczema often begins before the age of five and may even continue into the teen and adult years. Some people experience flare-ups followed by lengthy periods of improvement.
Who is at Risk for Developing Eczema?
Although the main cause of eczema remains unknown, scientists do know that environmental factors and a person’s genes can interact to cause the condition. Comorbid symptoms of allergic asthma, food allergies, and hay fever are frequently reported by many eczema sufferers. In order to prevent and treat eczema, proper, consistent skin care is crucial. The main risk factor for eczema is having had eczema, allergies, asthma, or hay fever in the past. Other risk factors include:
- Weakened or abnormally working immune system
- Family history
- Frequent water exposure without moisturizing
- Dry skin or barrier disruption
- Insect bites
- Environmental factors: weather, sweating
- Allergies to chemicals, metals, or certain substances
- Dry cleaning, hairdressing, or even doing the laundry can expose your skin to irritants
Eczema can be a difficult condition to manage. Nevertheless, with proper care and treatment, it can be managed effectively. If you are experiencing symptoms of eczema or have any concerns about your skin health, please contact HMGS Dermatology today to schedule a consultation.