Dermatologist Gives Eczema Insights
As a dermatologist, I see patients with eczema many times a day because there are so many types, and some are really common. The word “eczema” is used to describe a type of inflammation of the skin that has different causes. All of the types of eczema look different on the skin and occur in different parts of the skin.
Atopic dermatitis is the type people often think of when they hear the word.
It is genetic and runs in families with allergies, asthma, hay fever, and very sensitive skin. It is a form of hypersensitivity though the rash often seems to worsen for no reason. The most common sites for the rash are (and occurs first) around the inner elbows and behind the knees.
When severe, it happens on any part of the skin. The skin is itchy, red and crusty. Patients scratch, and the skin often gets infected because people with atopy are more likely to be carriers of the Staph bacteria that is a common cause of impetigo.
Atopics are hypersensitive to many things that touch their skin like ingredients in moisturizers, laundry soap, wool, etc. so they need really hypoallergenic skin care. They also need to moisturize daily because their skin gets really dry which can trigger the eczema.
Contact dermatitis is eczema caused by allergic reaction to something that touched the skin.
Poison oak and ivy are classic causes. Perfumes, essential oils, metal, and many other things can cause it, too. Atopics are more likely to get it, but it can happen to anyone.
The skin is red, itchy and often blisters form. The blister water does not contain the allergen (like poison oak oil) and is not contagious so it will not spread the rash.