Atopic dermatitis (Eczema)

General Information: Atopic dermatitis (Eczema) is a very common skin disease in children but rare for adults.  It can cause dry, scaly and oftentimes itchy skin that can occur on face, forehead, cheeks, and scalp.  The itch can induce rubbing or scratching the skin, which can lead to skin thickening or infection.  Our dermatologist specializes in the diagnosis of eczema and other skin conditions.  She can help you or your child develop a long-term treatment plan to  control eczema and reduce flare-ups.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?   Atopic dermatitis (Eczema) may appear different in different age groups.  In infants, eczema can present as a dry, scaly, itchy patch of skin on the face or scalp where the patients constantly rub or scratch.  Skin infections can occur due to skin break-down from constant scratching or rubbing.  In children, itchy and scaly patches occur commonly in the creases of the elbows, knees, neck, wrists, and/or buttocks.  Overtime, constant scratching makes the affected skin thickened, almost leathery.  Bumps, knots, discoloration can occur on the affected skin.  Eczema that starts in infancy/childhood tends to improve with time and get milder with age.  About half of these affected children will continue to have milder eczema as adults.  Eczema rarely starts in adulthood; however, it is most commonly seen in the creases of elbows, knees, neck, and/or face (worse around the eyes).  Skin in adult-typed eczema can be extremely dry, scaly, and itchy.

What causes Eczema?  Atopic dermatitis (Eczema) can affect people of all skin colors, mostly children but rarely adults as well.  Of unknown reason, eczema is more common today than many years ago.  Researchers believe that many things including our genes, our immune system, and where we live can cause eczema.  For instance, having family members with eczema, asthma, or hay fever, living in a cold, developed country, being in higher social classes, or being a female are thought to increase a child’s risk of developing eczema.

General info about Eczema Treatment:  Diagnosis of atopic dermatitis (eczema) will involve a full body skin exam, history of itchy skin, family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever, and sometimes a patch test to check for skin reactions to minute amount of allergens.  The patch test needs to be checked after a few hours, 24 hours, and 72 hours from the initial placement.  Treatment can help to control eczema, relieve pain and itching, prevent skin thickening or infections.  Dr. Liana Abramova will help develop a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs which may include medicine, skin care products, and lifestyle/behavioral changes.