Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis


Find Relief for Chronic Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis and Similar Skin Conditions in NY

Many skin conditions cause itching, but if the sensation is also accompanied by dryness and scale, the problem may be eczema. NY’s Hudson Dermatology team works with a range of acute and chronic diseases, using extensive education and practical experience to properly diagnose the problem and develop a plan.

Since there is often no “cure” for eczema, the goal is often to treat symptoms and bring relief from flare-ups, as well as to identify possible causes in order to avoid developing itchy patches and dry skin in the future.

Eczema is not contagious, but it is common. An estimated 31 million Americans deal with the condition, whether newborn babies who develop dry and scaly areas, children who see symptoms on their face or limbs, adults who work with chemicals from concrete to oil to cleaning supplies, or older people who are no longer as physically active as they used to be. For all patients, it is important to get treatment early, since cracking skin—as well as openings caused by scratching—can lead to infections.

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What Is Eczema?

As a medical tern, “eczema” (fíom the Gíeek eczema: ”boil oveí, bíeak out”) is often used to describe any number of itchy, rash-like skin conditions, no matter their cause. In this way, it is something of a catch-all, encompassing an entire category of chronic symptoms. Eczema is also sometimes used to refer to specific types of the condition, such as the common atopic dermatitis.

In general, eczema is characterized by inflammation and irritation, typically developing as itchy and uncomfortable patches. The specific type of the condition is determined by a number of factors, including what triggered the reaction, where the reaction develops on the body, and how it appears.

Atopic Dermatitis

If there is one type of eczema practically synonymous with the name, it’s atopic dermatitis. Characterized by periodic itchy rashes and dry skin, it impacts about one in 10 Americans, typically starting in childhood by about 5 years old. Some people “outgrow” the condition by the time they reach adulthood, while others suffer from symptoms for their entire lives.

Irritant and Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Irritation and allergic reactions can result from the skin coming into contact with any of more than 15,000 different chemicals and substances, from wool to nickel, cosmetics to cleaning supplies. Poison ivy is the classic type of contact dermatitis. As with other types of the condition, itching and redness can be expected. Some people also develop small blisters.

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Also known as pompholyx, dyshidrotic eczema causes tiny, often particularly itchy blisters to form in response to specific stimuli, whether excessive hand washing, certain chemicals, temperature fluctuations, or emotional stress. Flare-ups may be rare and isolated events or frequent and lifelong.

Nummular Eczema

Itchy patches tend to be flat, but if the sensation is accompanied by round, raised spots, the problem may be nummular. This type gets its name from the Latin word for coin, which describes the general shape and size of the dry and itchy patches.

Stasis Dermatitis

When blood is unable to move as it should through leg veins, the problem is known as veinous insufficiency. If this happens, the blood can pool in the lower extremities and build pressure in the capillaries, eventually “spilling” fluid into the skin itself. This leads to stasis dermatitis or gravitational dermatitis. Symptoms include swollen ankles, discoloration on the legs and feet, and the itching and dryness common to other types. Patients are typically older.

Other Types of Eczema

Chapped, cracked, and crusty skin on the hands may be hand eczema, especially if symptoms also include a burning sensation, blisters, discoloration, and scales. Harsh chemicals and allergens are common triggers, but even water can prompt a flare-up due to frequent hand- washing.

Patients with eczema may develop neurodermatitis, which can involve intense itching, skin thickening (also known as lichen simplex chronicus), and other symptoms.

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Every physician at each of Hudson Dermatology’s six locations is board certified and committed to providing quality skincare built on a foundation of advanced technology and techniques. All treatments—medical and cosmetic—are highly personalized and chosen for their safety and results.

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What Eczema Treatments Are Available?

Since there are so many types of eczema, there are also a good number of eczema treatments. An important first step is identifying the cause of dryness, itching, and other symptoms of the condition.

In general, an ideal way to combat the symptoms is to keep the skin moisturized. While bathing too much and in water that is too hot can actually dry out the skin, short and lukewarm daily bathing sessions can be helpful—especially if they are followed right away by the application of moisturizers.

Preventing future flare-ups can be as simple as identifying and then avoiding a specific trigger, such as switching soaps or shampoos, properly wearing gloves when working with chemicals, or not wearing certain fabrics. Rashes may be linked to sun exposure after contact with a substance, so staying away from ultraviolet radiation after—for example—getting lemon or lime juice on your hands may be helpful.

Eczema creams or ointments may be prescribed to reduce inflammation, and narrow band UVB or excimer laser phototherapy treatments can also help. More severe flare-ups may require medicated dressings or oral corticosteroids. In certain advanced cases, biologic and other systemic medication may help to treat symptoms.

Clinical Trials

Many of Hudson Dermatology’s doctors are on faculty of or have relationships with major academic research institutions. Several promising new therapies are currently being developed and tested, and you might be a good candidate for a referral for clinical trial.

Help for Other Skin Conditions

Hudson Dermatology’s physicians work with patients who suffer from any of a number of chronic medical conditions, including psoriasis (which causes thick plaques to form on the skin) and rosacea (which causes frequent flushing and redness).

For more information about eczema, visit the American Academy of Dermatology’s page on the condition.

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Contact the Hudson Dermatology team now to set up a consultation for eczema in NY. Dutchess, Westchester, Columbia, Ulster, Putnam, Rockland, and Orange County residents can schedule an appointment via our online scheduler.

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FULL-SERVICEDERMATOLOGY

With offices in Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Hudson, Somers and Tarrytown, Hudson Dermatology offers the highest quality of care centered around medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and pediatric skincare. Patients in New York’s Hudson Valley area can depend on the professional team at Hudson Dermatology to satisfy all their medical and cosmetic skincare needs.

FULL-SERVICEDERMATOLOGY

With offices in Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Hudson, Somers and Tarrytown, Hudson Dermatology offers the highest quality of care centered around medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and pediatric skincare. Patients in New York’s Hudson Valley area can depend on the professional team at Hudson Dermatology to satisfy all their medical and cosmetic skincare needs.