Eczema

Eczema Specialist
Eczema affects as many as 15 million people in the United States. This bothersome, skin condition -- which affects males and females equally -- is more prevalent in people who have a family or personal history of allergies or asthma. Dr. Robert S. Berger at Charles County Dermatology Associates expertly treats eczema sufferers in White Plains, Maryland. As a resident, Dr. Berger received national awards for research papers on this condition. If left untreated, eczema can cause complications. If you feel you have eczema, call or schedule an online appointment.

Eczema Q & A

Charles County Dermatology Associates

What is eczema?

Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic disorder that causes your skin to itch and appear red. This condition affects all age groups of people. People tend to experience periodic flare-ups of eczema that eventually subside. Eczema is often accompanied by hay fever or asthma.

What are the symptoms of eczema?

The signs of eczema fluctuate widely. People suffering from this condition often experience itchy skin. The itching can become severe at times and may worsen at night. You might get red or brownish-gray patches on certain areas of your skin. These patches may be especially noticeable on your:

  • Eyelids
  • Hands
  • Wrists
  • Ankles
  • Feet
  • Neck
  • Upper chest
  • Elbows
  • Knees

In addition to patches, you might have small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid. If you scratch them, they’ll likely develop a crust over them. Having thickened, cracked, dry, and scaly skin is also a symptom of eczema.

What triggers eczema flare-ups?

Eczema triggers include:

  • Skin irritants
  • Allergens
  • Stress
  • Climate
  • The environment

Skin irritants cause itching, redness, or burning. Common irritants include:

  • Chemicals
  • Perfumes
  • Harsh soaps
  • Skin-care products containing alcohol or fragrance
  • Wool
  • Tight clothing

Allergens are things that cause you to experience an allergic reaction. Pollens, pet hair, and certain kinds of food are allergens that can cause eczema outbreaks. Low humidity can lead to dry and itchy skin. Heat and high humidity make you sweat. When you perspire, your itching might worsen.

How is eczema treated?

Several eczema treatment options exist. Depending on the severity of your skin condition, Dr. Berger may recommend a corticosteroid cream to help you control itching and inflammation. You might also benefit from a calcineurin inhibitor. The cream form of this type of drug can help repair skin damaged from eczema. If you have a bacterial skin infection or an open sore resulting from scratching, Dr. Berber might prescribe oral antibiotics.

Oral anti-itch drugs are also available. Besides medications, Dr. Berger uses light therapy to treat eczema. Broadband ultraviolet B therapy is used in the treatment of eczema, but it is less effective than psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) therapy. Narrow-band UVB phototherapy, a new treatment for eczema, is more effective than broadband UVB. A useful alternative to PUVA therapy, narrow-band UVB clears up eczema for many patients.

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