Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

person's elbow with eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes inflamed, itchy, red rashes. Eczema has no cure, but can be treated effectively by our GraceMed dermatologists.

What is Eczema?

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is skin inflammation that results from the immune system attacking the skin, causing dry and itchy rash on the skin surface. It often first occurs during infancy or childhood, and is commonly found on flexor surfaces such as the inside of the elbow, back of the knee, and wrists. It may also appear on exposed skin such as the face, hands, or feet.

What Causes Eczema?

Genetics plays an important role in eczema, as it is often seen in families. Occasionally, eczema may also be caused by another condition or illness. However, eczema is most commonly a reaction to environmental allergens (mold, dust mites, pollen, cigarette smoke, etc.) entering the body through the pores of the skin. The body’s immune system responds to this allergen by becoming inflamed, this inflammation then causes the skin to become dry, scaly and itchy. Scratching the skin causes damage and increases the risk of exposure to allergens, which results in more inflammation. Eczema may be intensified by weather changes or emotional stress.

Is Eczema Contagious?

No, eczema is not contagious.

Eczema vs Psoriasis

Eczema causes the skin to be extremely itchy, red, and inflamed. The patches may become rough and leathery; though they are often not as thick or inflamed as Psoriasis. Eczema patches commonly occur on areas of the body that bend, such as the neck, wrists, ankles, or inside of the knees and elbows. Infants may also experience eczema in exposed areas of their body.

Psoriasis causes clearly-defined, raised, thick scaly patches of dead skin cells that are red in colour. In addition to itching, psoriasis patches may also sting or burn. It is common for psoriasis to appear on areas like the elbows, knees, scalp and face, lower back. Psoriasis is more common in adults, where eczema usually first appears in early childhood.

Eczema Prevention

  • Identify and avoid triggers
  • Avoid overheating
  • Wear soft fabrics
  • Manage stress well
  • Moisturize
  • Avoid itching

Eczema Treatment

Although Eczema has no cure, it can successfully be treated effectively by our GraceMed dermatologists.

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