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If you have ever experienced dry, itchy skin that will not go away, to the point where it may interrupt your sleep, you may have eczema. Eczema is a very common chronic skin condition, affecting more than 30 million people in the U.S.

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is when the skin loses its ability to protect itself from outside irritants and allergens due to the protective barrier becoming dried out. Eczema looks like patches of dry skin that becomes itchy, inflamed and even ooze fluids; patches of skin that ooze fluids are a prominent sign that eczema may be the culprit.

These patches are usually found in the inside of the arms, back of the knees and in the folds of skin. The cause of eczema is still unclear but genes, environment and immune system all have roles to play in its appearance.

Flare-ups of eczema can appear randomly,  but are primarily caused by triggers that we encounter daily:

  • Soap
  • Detergent
  • Fragrances
  • Dust, pollen or pet dander allergens
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Cold/dry weather
  • Dust, sand or pollution
  • Wool or synthetic fabrics

Symptoms of eczema can vary from person to person but these are the most common indicators:

  • Severe itching
  • Red rash
  • Dry, rough or scaly patches
  • Blistering
  • Oozing fluids from patches
  • Painful skin cracking

Treatment for eczema can vary, but the most helpful option is self-care. Knowing what the signs and triggers of your eczema are can eliminate or prevent suffering. Simple home-remedies that can be done to treat eczema are to moisturize your skin, soak or use wet wraps; restoring moisture to the skin is helpful with the dry and itchiness that occurs. When at-home treatments do not work, steroids and creams, light therapy or even antibiotics can be prescribed by a physician to help with symptoms and find relief.

If you are concerned about eczema, schedule an appointment with a Prevea Dermatologist or Prevea Allergist to find the answers and treatment that is right for you.