Eczema is a broad term for a number of skin conditions that shows up as dry, irritated and very itchy skin. Another word for eczema is dermatitis. There are many different types of eczema or dermatitis. Some of the most common types of eczema include: atopic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, irritant dermatitis and nummular dermatitis. Patients with eczema experience dry, itchy skin. Eczema can occur on any part of the body.
Some types of eczema are more common in people who have seasonal allergies and/or asthma. This type of eczema, known as atopic dermatitis, most often begins in childhood but can develop in adults too. Other types of eczema occur when the skin is overly sensitive to things that touch the skin such as cosmetics, preservatives and fragrance. Allergy testing, known as patch testing, can be done to see if a patient has a sensitivity to something that is touching the skin.
Many types of eczema show up for reasons that we don’t understand. Eczema can worsen during certain seasons, most often in the winter. Those with eczema should use gentle soaps and plenty of moisturizers. Dermatologists can prescribe different creams and pills that can soothe and repair the skin. The most commonly prescribed types of creams for eczema are steroid creams. Steroid creams can be very effective but they should not always be used on certain body parts and sometimes their use should be limited in duration. You should follow the instructions given to you for use of your steroid cream. Other types of creams prescribed for eczema include: tacrolimus (Protopic ®), pimecrolimus (Elidel®) and crisaborole (Eucrisa®). For more severe cases of eczema certain pills can be given to improve the skin. For patients with the type of eczema known as atopic dermatitis, a shot called dupilumab (Dupixent®) can be effective to help the skin.
Learn more at the American Academy of Dermatology: AAD Eczema