Eczema refers to a group of genetic (non-contagious) skin conditions that causes red, itchy and inflamed skin as a reaction to environmental factors, irritants or allergens. Atopic dermatitis is a severe and chronic (prolonged) form of eczema. It is more common in children than adults, and sufferers often have a personal or family history of allergies. For babies and young children, we recommend they see our Pediatric Specialist, Dr Carlos Baptista.
There are many types of eczema including contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and stasis dermatitis. Eczema often begins before the age of five, and symptoms vary from person to person, but can include:
- Dry, sensitive or itchy skin
- Dark-colored patches, especially on the wrists, hands, ankles, feet, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
- Small, raised bumps and/or red, inflamed skin
- Oozing and/or crusting skin
- Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
- Skin that becomes raw, sensitive or swollen through scratching
When to see a doctor
While mild episodes of atopic dermatitis can be treated by moisturizing and avoiding known allergens, you will need to see a doctor if the symptoms persist or get worse. If you have an oozing rash, or areas of thickened skin, for example, you need medical help.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Your dermatologist will be able to analyze your condition and recommend a personalized treatment plan. If our dermatologist suspects you have allergic contact dermatitis, she could recommend you go for allergy tests. Novomed has a dedicated Allergy & Asthma clinic in Dubai that can test for a host of allergens. Alternatively, if it is not allergy-driven, you could work together to work out what substances are irritating your skin and avoid them.
Treatments for atopic dermatitis could include anything from regular moisturizing and applying topical creams to UV light or medication.