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Eczema

Eczema is a general term of which there are many types:

  • Atopic Dermatitis – is a type of eczema that often begins in early childhood and is genetically linked to asthma and environmental allergies. It is believed to be due to a deficiency in both barrier function and various cutaneous antimicrobial factors.
  • Contact Dermatitis – is a form of eczema that is due either to an allergy or an irritation to something which comes into contact with the skin.  Therefore, this rash can occur on any skin area where ‘contact’ with the offending agent is made.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis – presents as a red, scaly (often a yellowish color), patchy rash typically on the scalp, inner cheeks, on and/or between the eyebrows, central chest and back.  It can sometimes be seen in association with psoriasis (sebopsoriasis).
  • Asteototic Eczema/Xerosis – presents as pink to red, dry, cracked skin (like a ‘desert floor’) and is due to exposure to a dry environment (low ambient humidity).

Treatment

Treatment for these various eczemas includes topical steroids, topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, light therapy (phototherapy) and emolliation. Additionally some patients require antibiotics (either topical or oral) and/or a limited course of oral steroids. Lastly, patch testing (allergy testing) may be needed to identify any allergic component of a patient’s eczema.