What is Eczema?
Eczema represents a group of skin conditions that are caused by various allergic reactions or at times, from the body's response to an immune system deficiency. The result can lead to inflammation of the skin, redness, and itchy patches similar to dermatitis. In many cases, the inflammation itself is dermatitis. This can occur anywhere on the body, including the hands, face, neck, or other area. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type and is usually the result of an allergic reaction. This condition generally starts in childhood. At Snyder Dermatology in Austin, TX it is important that we diagnose exactly what is causing the irritation so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and treatment recommended.
What Causes Eczema?
Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes eczema but it’s believed to be triggered by several factors. Immune system abnormalities, genetics, environment, skin irritants and skin barrier defects are the most common causes. Family genetics play a role where certain genes can cause patients to have extremely sensitive skin. A patient with relatives who suffer from asthma or hay fever is at a higher risk of developing eczema. Contact with certain fabrics and soaps, cold, dry climates, heat and sweat and even stress can trigger eczema symptoms. Defects in the skin barrier can allow germs in and moisture out which can also lead to flare-ups.
Symptoms of Eczema
Eczema is most commonly characterized by dry, itchy or red skin, as well as persistent rashes. Usually, a patient’s skin will begin to itch before a rash appears. Most patients will experience patches of skin that are chronically itchy, dry or thickened. These patches can appear anywhere, but mostly occur on the face, neck, hands or legs. With children, patches can appear on the inner creases of the knees and elbows. Once the skin is scratched, dry patches, as well as open sores with crust, could develop which could become infected. Severe symptoms could include pus-filled blisters or a yellowish to light-brown crust developing over existing eczema patches, which could be a sign of a bacterial infection.
"She was very good with my 6 yearold daughter. She gave me solutions and recommendations to manage her ecema of which I hadn't heard from other doctors. Overall I was very satisfied with our appointment with her and I trust her opinion enough to keep seeing her for future skin related issues."- S.R. / ZocDoc / Jan 10, 2016
"This review is for Dr. Jennifer Aranda. I have been seeing Dr. Aranda at Snyder dermatology for over a year now. I have an extremely bad case of eczema on my face and back. I went in last year in desperation looking for relief from the pain and let's be honest, embarrassment of my skin. Dr. Aranda heard me out, tested me for skin allergies, gave me a prescription and many samples and a year later I have never been so comfortable in my own skin. If ever I have any problems, she is a phone call away and have never felt embarrassed or slighted, no matter how busy she is."- S.M. / Yelp / Feb 19, 2017
"This review is for Dr. Jennifer Aranda. I have been seeing Dr. Aranda at Snyder dermatology for over a year now. I have an extremely bad case of eczema on my face and back. I went in last year in..."- S.M. / Yahoo / Feb 18, 2017
How to Treat Eczema
Eczema can be treated with a range of over-the-counter or prescribed medication and ointments. Hydrocortisone creams and ointments can be bought, as well as antihistamines, such as Benadryl, to help relieve symptoms. Prescription medications such as steroid creams or immunomodulators may help those with severe eczema. An oral steroid, or corticosteroid, may also be prescribed. In extreme cases, ultraviolet light therapy or laser treatment may also be applied to the affected areas. When other treatments have failed, immunosuppressants may be prescribed since these drugs suppress the immune system.
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Whether you have suffered from eczema for years with little to no relief or have just noticed an itchy rash and a difference in your skin, there are numerous treatment options available. Employing a multi-level treatment approach of care, which includes prevention, detection and treatment, allows our patients to not only manage their eczema, but also notice a significant decrease in symptoms.