Allergic Eczema - A Skin Problem

written by Dr Kent Woo Chee Keen on 12 November 2013
Allergic Eczema—A Skin Problem 
 
Allergic Eczema (also called “Atopic Dermatitis”) is a skin disease. Eczema causes dry skin that can itch, get red and crack. Part of the skin might break out in a rash, or the rash might involve the whole body. In adults, eczema usually develops on the insides of the elbows, the backs of the knees and the hands. In young children, the rash is most often on the face, arms and body. 
 
Eczema is most common in people whose relatives have allergic conditions like asthma or allergic rhinitis. Up to 20 percent of children are affected, with a majority of children developing allergic eczema by 5 years old. 
 
What causes eczema? 
 
The exact cause of eczema isn't known. It may be caused or made worse by these things: 
 
. Soaps, laundry detergents and perfumes. 
. Allergens like pollens, pet hair or dander (dried bits of skin), feathers and dust mites. 
 
(Dust mites are very tiny, spider-like creatures. They make their homes in mattresses, pillows and 
rugs. They can only be seen under a microscope). 
 
. Heat, high humidity and sweating. These can make the itching worse. 
. Some foods can cause eczema to flare. 
. Emotional stress can worsen eczema. 
 
What can I do if food causes my eczema? 
 
After proper evaluation by an Allergist, you might be asked to remove a certain food from your diet for a 
while. This way you can find out if this food makes the eczema worse. 
 
What can I do about emotional stress? 
 
First, learn what causes you (or your child) to feel stressed. Then use exercise, hobbies and meditation to 
control the stress reactions. 
 
How is eczema treated? 
 
Your doctor can help you find out what makes your eczema worse so you can avoid those things. No one 
treatment is best for all people with eczema. 
 
Proper Skin care is very important for Eczema! 
 
. Use barrier creams correctly and as advised by your doctor. 
. Reduce skin irritants. 
. Make sure you avoid exposure to laundry soaps that can irritate your skin. 
. Wear loose clothes made of cotton and other natural materials that “breathe”. 
. Medicines called topical steroids applied on skin can help reduce the itching, swelling and redness. 
. There are oral medicines that can help reduce itching and improve the rash. 
. Depending on the severity of the problem, other treatment modalities can be used. 
. Reduce scratching of the skin as it can cause infections.