Eczema

Asian boy got dairy or milk allergy got red skin rash around his month keep scratching blue background

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a genetic disorder in which the outer layer of the skin, called the skin barrier, is defective. This defective skin barrier has microscopic cracks and breaks in the skin, which allow irritants and germs more easily into the skin.  Irritants in the skin cause inflammation and an immune response, which then triggers excessive skin itching, sometimes to the point of scratching the skin until it bleeds or awakening patients at night with scratching. Additionally, when the outer layer of the skin is broken down, bacteria and viruses can more readily enter the skin, causing frequent skin infections.

Asian boy got dairy or milk allergy got red skin rash around his month keep scratching blue background

Eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a genetic disorder in which the outer layer of the skin, called the skin barrier, is defective. This defective skin barrier has microscopic cracks and breaks in the skin, which allow irritants and germs more easily into the skin.  Irritants in the skin cause inflammation and an immune response, which then triggers excessive skin itching, sometimes to the point of scratching the skin until it bleeds or awakening patients at night with scratching. Additionally, when the outer layer of the skin is broken down, bacteria and viruses can more readily enter the skin, causing frequent skin infections.

Eczema looks like red, rashy inflamed skin and is typically located on the inner elbows, backs of the knees, and face. Over time, eczema-prone areas of skin may have scratches or scabs and become thickened from excess scratching. Often, eczema-prone skin is very dry and easily infected.

Typically, eczema presents in infancy around 2 months of age and can last throughout childhood into adulthood. However, most children outgrow eczema around age 4.

What are the causes of eczema?

We do not yet understand the exact cause of eczema. However, researchers believe that eczema stems from a mutation in a protein of the outer skin called filaggrin. Filaggrin functions in the skin barrier to keep moisture inside the skin and to keep germs outside of the skin. Therefore, a defect in filaggrin produces dry cracked skin that is prone to infection.

We DO know that patients suffering with eczema typically have a family history of at least one of the following conditions: eczema, allergies, and/or asthma. Therefore, eczema tends to run in families.

What are the causes of eczema?

A well-trained provider diagnoses eczema through a detailed personal and family history and in combination with a thorough clinical exam. As dermatology specialized practitioners, the team of providers at Cenla Dermatology has decades of combined experience diagnosing and treating eczema, as well as other common skin conditions.

Treatment for eczema consists of frequent application of moisturizers and emollients to the skin, avoidance of skin irritants, and early treatment for skin infections. In addition, topical steroid creams and non-steroid prescription medications are used to treat areas of inflamed skin. In extreme cases, a biologic injectable medication may be used to better manage eczema. This FDA-approved medication is approved for children as young as 2 years old and can be done either in-office or at home. Discuss you or your child’s eczema concerns with one of our well-trained dermatology providers in order to receive an individualized and comprehensive plan of care.