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About Eczema

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a very common skin condition that can develop at any age, though it is most common in children. There are many different forms of eczema, including atopic dermatitis, nummular dermatitis, and contact dermatitis. All forms of eczema cause red, scaly, itchy patches on the skin. It can sometimes cause thickened areas of skin. Once eczema heals, it can leave light or dark patches of skin in its place. Eczema can occur on any part of the body. A skin biopsy is sometimes necessary to make or confirm a diagnosis of eczema.

Preventing dry skin and avoiding potential irritants and allergens are both very important for managing eczema. However, eczema usually requires prescription-strength treatment. There is no one medication or combination of medications that is best for everyone. Evaluation by a dermatologist is important to determine the type of eczema you have, complete a work-up for potential allergens (if applicable), and get you started on an individualized treatment plan. 

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Other tips for Eczema

In addition to scheduling an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists or certified PAs for an evaluation and treatment regimen specially tailored for you or your child, we recommend the following:

  • Do not use hot water. Lukewarm water is best for bathing or showering.  
  • Apply a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser with your hands. Do not use scented or antibacterial soaps, loofahs, washcloths, or products containing alcohol. 
  • Limit the time in the bathtub or shower. A 5-10 minute bath or shower adds moisture to the skin. Spending longer in the bath or shower can leave skin less hydrated than when you started. Shower or bathe only once daily or every other day. 
  • After bathing, pat dry, then apply a thick fragrance-free moisturizer or ointment to the whole body within one minute.
  • Reapply your moisturizer throughout the day, whenever your skin feels dry or itchy. 
  • Use a “free and clear” laundry detergent. Avoid fabric softener and dryer sheets. 
  • Avoid scratching. Keep your nails trimmed short.

What treatments are available for eczema?

  • Emollients: Moisturize the skin and enhance its barrier function.
  • Topical steroid creams or ointments: Reduce inflammation.
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitor creams or ointments: Reduce inflammation
  • Topical PDE-4 inhibitors, such as Eucrisa®: Reduce inflammation.
  • Antihistamine pills: Relieve itching.
  • Systemic immune modulating medications, including Dupixent®: Target the immune pathways that cause eczema.
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