Eczema affects more than 28 million people in the United States. Although there is no cure for eczema, most cases respond to proper treatment. If you are suffering from eczema, call or make an appointment online today with Dr. Ulrike Ziegner at Riviera Allergy Medical Center in Redondo Beach, California.

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What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic red, itchy rash that flares up periodically. While eczema is most prevalent in children, it develops at any age and is often accompanied by asthma or hay fever. Eczema is not contagious, and its cause is unknown. However, several factors contribute to eczema flare-ups, including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Friction
  • Prolonged exposure to heat and moisture
  • Contact with irritants, including harsh chemicals

What are the symptoms of eczema?

The symptoms of eczema include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching, especially at night
  • Red to brownish-gray patches or thickened, cracked, scaly skin
  • Small, raised bumps, which leak fluid and crust over when scratched
  • Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching

Eczema is most prevalent on your hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees. Infants tend to get eczema on the face and scalp.

How is eczema treated?

There is no known cure for eczema.  However, Dr. Ziegner helps you find the best treatment to relieve your symptoms. Treatment includes a variety of different:

  • Medicines — including corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation and antihistamines
  • Skin creams and moisturizers
  • Light therapy
  • A good skincare routine

The goals of treatment include keeping the skin moist, reducing both inflammation and the risk of infection, and minimizing the itch associated with the rash.

Dr. Ziegner recommends avoiding skin irritants, including certain soaps, fabrics, and lotions, as some types of eczema are preventable by doing so. Stress and allergy triggers, such as food, pollen, and animals can also exacerbate eczema.

What is the difference between eczema and psoriasis?

It is often hard to differentiate between eczema and psoriasis. However, the two skin diseases tend to appear in different places on your body. To discern between eczema and psoriasis, Dr. Ziegner will take into account what she sees on your skin and where she sees it, as well as the amount of itch. While eczema is common in the crooks of your knees and elbows, psoriasis appears on your face, buttocks, and scalp. Eczema is itchier than psoriasis and is more prevalent than psoriasis.