If you suffer from inflamed, itchy, red and irritated skin, it is likely you have one of the 7 types of eczema. The term “eczema” encompasses several inflammatory skin disorders. Some of the patches may be round; some may be weepy; some may be crusty; some may be rough, scaly or leathery; some may be red or dark, and some may be accompanied with vascular irregularities. You are not alone – eczema is a common dermatitis skin condition that affects over 30 million people in the United States. It is not contagious, and Dr. Timani can help treat and manage the physical symptoms, depending on the type and cause.
The 7 Faces of Eczema
The most common form of eczema, often with onset at a young age. Symptoms range from mild to severe and often runs in a family. Atopic dermatitis typically causes patches of dry skin that can become itchy, red, and inflamed. Scratching leads to oozing and crusting and eventually may thicken the skin. Patches occur most often in the creases of the elbows and knees, as well as on the face, neck, and wrists. This form of eczema is also associated with a higher risk of developing a food allergy, asthma or hay fever. As well, their risk of experiencing contact dermatitis increases. Periodic flare ups are commonly caused by triggers such as:
- Low humidity, cold weather, and extreme changes in temperature.
- Irritants, such as fabrics, detergents, soaps, perfumes, and fragrances.
- Dust mites, or animal hair and saliva.
- Skin infections.
- Hormonal changes.
A reaction of the skin to certain substances. Symptoms of contact dermatitis can include: dry, red, and itchy skin that may feel as though it is burning; blistering; or hives. There are 2 major types of contact dermatitis: irritant contact dermatitis from exposure to irritants; or allergic contact dermatitis, when a person’s immune system reacts to a substance known as an allergen. Once an allergy is developed, it usually is for life.
Typically appears in adults under 40 years of age. It usually occurs on the hands and feet. Intense itching and the appearance of small blisters, which can become large and watery, infected, and swollen, are characteristic symptoms. Once the blisters subside, the skin may dry and crack, leading to painful skin fissures. Potential causes may include allergies, hay fever, contact with irritants, stress and weather changes.
Discoid eczema is recognizable due to the disc-shaped patches of itchy, red, cracked, and swollen skin usually found on the lower legs, torso, and forearms. It may appear as a red disc shape ring as it clears. Again, atopic dermatitis is a common co-condition.
A common condition which causes a raised, red, itchy, and flaky rash often with a yellowish or white crust on the surface. Seborrheic dermatitis develops in areas where the skin is oily, and is most often associated with dandruff on the scalp and areas on the face. Hair loss and color changes may occur. Flare-ups are common, and flakes may become very crusty and thick. Seborrheic dermatitis can affect people of any age, beginning with cradle cap in infancy. Certain medical conditions and/or medications can increase the risk of seborrheic dermatitis.
Often occurs alongside varicose veins on the calves, ankles and feet in older adults. The veins cause blood to collect in the legs (stasis). leading to leg swelling, itching, weeping and crusty patches, fine red bumps, and darkened skin. The skin on the lower leg may become fragile.
This type of eczema tends to affect older persons, possibly in relation to drier skin as a person ages. It typically occurs on the lower legs, but it can also appear on other parts of the body. The symptoms are more visibly unique than other types of eczema, with red grooved, cracked, and dry skin that looks like broken paving; scaling; pain and itching.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema. Based on the diagnosis, Dr.Timani will determine a treatment plan which manages the symptoms and helps prevent flare-ups. Treatment options may include:
- Moisturizers or emollients to keep the skin hydrated and reduce itching and cracking.
- Steroid creams and ointments to reduce swelling, redness, and soreness.
- Antihistamines to reduce itching, especially at night.
- Topical calcineurin inhibitors to help reduce inflammation.
- Phototherapy, which uses ultraviolet (UV) light to fight inflammation.
- Antibiotics to treat bacterial skin infections.
- Avoidance of common irritants and environment control.
The office of Shereen Timani, M.D. is located in Johns Creek and serves South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties and the surrounding North Atlanta area. Our patients live in nearby Alpharetta, Suwanee, Roswell, Duluth, Dawsonville, and Cumming, GA.
This article is not meant to take the place of professional medical advice. Please contact us at Johns Creek Dermatology or make an appointment.