Don’t Let Eczema Scare You this October.

Ghouls, Goblins, Eczema? 

Discover more about National Eczema Month

October is National Eczema Month.  Eczema is a general term used for skin that becomes inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema.  Eczema affects about 20% of children and up to 35% of adults.  Most children who develop eczema outgrow it by the age 10 while some people have the condition and symptoms their entire life.  The good news is it can be treated. 


One of the telltale signs of eczema is the itch factor.  Sometimes the itch will begin before the rash appears.  The rash is more common on the face, back of knees, wrists, hands and feet.


Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In those with fair skin, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. With those who have darker skin, eczema may affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker. Eczema is commonly found in families who have allergies or asthma. 


As with other skin conditions, people may have “flare-ups” of the itchy eczema rash.  Typically, it may happen when their skin comes into contact with rough or course clothing that may cause their skin to be itchy.  For others, feeling too hot or too cold and exposure to certain soaps or detergents can cause a response as well.  And stress—yes, another cause of eczema. 


Although there is no cure, most people can effectively manage their condition with medical treatment and by avoiding irritants. Depending on the severity of eczema, there are treatments available including OTC medications as well as prescription topical medications. 


Some OTC treatments are used for moisturizing the skin while others help the symptoms such as the rash, redness and itch.  On the prescription side there are topical corticosteroids that are applied directly to the affected area to help ease redness, rash, dryness and itching.  The good news is that eczema can be treated, and it is not contagious and can't be spread from person to person. 


Author Platinum Dermatology — Published October 1, 2019