Eczema | Dermatitis

Are you suffering from the itching and redness of eczema? You’re not alone. The providers at MaineHealth help adults and children with eczema. Eczema symptoms can be controlled through proper treatment.

What is eczema?

Eczema, or dermatitis, is the inflammation of the skin. It may be from a reaction to an irritant. Some types of eczema are long-term. Often eczema is first diagnosed in babies and children. Symptoms can ease or go away as children become adults. But sometimes eczema is first diagnosed in adults.

Eczema symptoms

Eczema symptoms can vary depending on which type of eczema you have. The most common symptoms are:

  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Extreme itching (people may scratch the skin until it bleeds)
  • Slightly raised rashes
  • Red, irritated skin
  • Swelling skin
  • Scaly areas
  • Rough patches
  • Dark patches

Patients often see eczema on the nape of neck or scalp, shoulders, arms, torso, legs behind knees, hands, feet, and ankles. Contact your primary care provider if you have a skin rash that has not improved after a few days.

Eczema risks

Children often get atopic dermatitis. They are more likely to get eczema if their parents have had eczema, asthma, and seasonal allergies. As you get older, atopic dermatitis usually goes away. It can stay dormant for weeks and even years. Sometimes it does not come back at all.

Eczema screening and diagnosis

Eczema is diagnosed by a physical evaluation. There are no specific tests for eczema, but allergy tests can be done to check for sensitivities and the cause of eczema.

Eczema treatment

Treatments vary depending on severity and type of eczema. Treatments include:

  • Keeping the skin moisturized
  • Limiting exposure to things that flare up the eczema symptoms
  • Medication
  • Skin creams and ointments
  • Light therapy

Be sure to moisturize skin and drink plenty of fluids if you have eczema. Daily baths are okay as long as you put enough ointment or cream on the irritated area. Speak with your primary care provider about which treatment is right for you.