Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

강남피부과 Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a skin condition that can cause itchy, red and scaly patches of irritated, inflamed skin. It can appear all over the body, especially on the arms, inner elbows, backs of knees and cheeks.


Some people are at greater risk than others, including those with a history of asthma, hay fever or food allergies. Children are more likely to get eczema than adults.


Eczema is an itchy, scaly rash that can lead to skin infections like bacterial and yeast. It’s not contagious, but it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing at its worst. It can also cause emotional distress and interfere with sleep when the itch is particularly intense.

There are a few different types of eczema. The most common form is called atopic dermatitis (also known as atopic eczema) and is part of a group of conditions healthcare professionals call the atopic triad with asthma and hay fever. The exact cause isn’t fully understood, but it is thought to be linked to the body’s immune system and tendency toward allergies and asthma.

Irritants can trigger flare-ups of eczema, such as soaps, detergents, wool fibers, perfumes, pet dander and pollen. Hot and cold temperatures, low humidity, stress and sweating can also make it worse. Females are more prone to the condition, especially during pregnancy and at certain points in their menstrual cycle.

Antihistamines can help control itching 강남피부과 and can be found over the counter in medications such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). A doctor may also prescribe topical calcineurin inhibitors, which suppresses activity of the immune system, barrier repair moisturizers or injections of biologic drugs that reduce inflammation. Once the condition is under control, people can often stop taking steroid creams but should follow their doctor’s instructions to avoid a rebound flare.


Eczema symptoms include rashes that are red, dry, flaky and itchy. Sometimes these rashes weep fluid or bleed. The itching can become so severe that it interferes with sleep and daily activities, and may cause you to scratch the rash to the point of damaging your skin and causing scarring. The itching can also lead to skin infections like cellulitis (a serious infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics) and scabies. If the rash is infected your doctor will prescribe ointments and creams to help control the infection. Infected rashes can also turn gray or brown in people with darker skin pigmentation.

Most children with eczema will outgrow it by their teen years, but some continue to have symptoms on and off for life. Eczema can run in families and it is often associated with other allergy conditions such as hay fever and asthma.

Hot and cold temperatures, harsh soaps and detergents, stress, sweating, a fungal infection called tinea corporis or tinea capitis (ringworm), and herpes simplex virus can trigger eczema flare-ups. Certain foods such as dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, wheat, and soy can also make your eczema worse. You can help reduce your symptoms by using a moisturizing cream, applying it several times a day, and keeping the affected areas covered. You can also avoid triggering flare-ups by staying away from irritants, such as chlorine in swimming pools and spas, perfumed bubble baths, wool clothing, and scratchy blankets.


Medications for eczema can help relieve itching and keep the skin healthy. Your dermatologist may prescribe medications for your rash that you apply to the skin or take by mouth. They will be tailored to your needs and preferences.

Topical corticosteroids (cortisone) can quickly relieve itch and redness, especially in the most troublesome areas. They can cause a small sting when they are first applied but this quickly fades. We usually avoid oral corticosteroids unless they are needed for severe symptoms or as a short-term therapy to get your eczema under control before beginning long-term immunosuppressant medication.

Oral antihistamines can be helpful in reducing itching for many people but they don’t decrease the rash. Occasionally, sedative antihistamines may be used to encourage sleep in those who have difficulty sleeping due to itching and rashes.

A new treatment called biologic drugs are now available for those with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. The drug dupilumab (Dupixent) has been approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and is being investigated for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in adults and children over the age of 2. Another injectable biologic, tralokinumab (Adbry), is also showing promise in clinical trials.

Other medications are currently being developed for the treatment of atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory diseases. They are aimed at blocking proteins from binding to receptors on the cells of your immune system. This stops your immune system from overreacting and thereby stopping inflammation.


For mild eczema, moisturizing your skin often controls flares. Avoiding irritants that trigger a flare may also help. For example, if you have an allergic reaction to eggs or cow’s milk (atopic dermatitis), you may need to change the foods you eat. Talk with your health care provider or an allergy specialist about testing for food allergies to help find out if certain foods are triggers for your eczema.

Overly dry skin can trigger a flare-up, so moisturize daily. Use soap-free, oil-free, unscented body and hair products and wash your skin in warm, not hot, water. Wear soft fabrics next to your skin – cotton, wool or silk are best. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes. Be sure to wash new clothing before you wear it.

Itching is a major trigger for a flare-up, so try to stop scratching. Keep your fingernails short to prevent injuring the skin and make a habit of applying a cold compress or taking an antihistamine when itching becomes intense.

Sweat is another a common trigger, so try to limit it by staying hydrated and showering immediately after working out or spending time at the beach. Some people are allergic to house dust mites, but it is important not to make significant changes to your diet without consulting a GP or dietitian to ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need.