Resource Center: Eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a very common, chronic, skin disease. It is characterized by extremely dry, scaly, and itchy skin.

Eczema is extremely common in babies and even 10-20% of older children have experienced it. Kids with a family history of seasonal allergy and asthma have a higher likelihood of developing eczema.

The itching that patients with eczema experience, can be very severe. Some patients will have difficulty sleeping at night because they can’t stop scratching. Many will wake up noting that they have scratched their skin to the point of bleeding overnight. This compromised skin is more prone to infection.

Eczema may be secondary to a food allergy but this is seen most commonly in very young children, under the age of 5. The most commonly associated foods are milk, eggs, and soy. Your allergist can test you to see if you have any food or environmental allergies contributing to your skin rashes.

How is eczema treated?

The mainstay of eczema treatment is to hydrate the skin. Creams and ointments, such as Vaseline, are better at hydrating the skin than lotions. Patients with eczema should use all scent-free, color-free products and avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets when washing clothes.

Some cases of more severe eczema require prescription creams, many of these are topical steroids. In 2016, crisaborole, or Eucrisa was released on the market and is a non-steroidal treatment for eczema in patients ages 2 and older.

In 2017, the first biologic treatment for eczema, dupilumab or Dupixent, was FDA approved. This treatment targets chemicals involved in the body’s inflammatory cascade and blocks them. It is an injection given under the skin 2 times a month and can be done at home.

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