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Almost 32 million Americans suffer from eczema symptoms. Though there’s no cure for this condition, Dr. Stella Matsuda, Dr. Shannon Sheu, and Dr. Shelbi Jim On of Matsuda Dermatology in Honolulu, Hawaii, can diagnose, treat, and help you manage eczema to relieve symptoms and prevent new outbreaks. Contact the office by phone or online to schedule an appointment today.
Eczema, a skin condition that’s also called atopic dermatitis, displays a variety of symptoms that can be quite different for each person who suffers from it. Perhaps the most common symptom is dry, itchy skin that may be most severe at night. You may also experience redness or even brown-gray patches in the common areas that eczema affects, usually the hands, feet, neck, upper chest, eyelids, and the insides of elbows and knees.
Your skin may have small bumps as well, that can leak fluid and crust over if they’re scratched. Your skin can become thick and scaly, and since the urge to scratch can be extreme, you may have sensitive, raw skin from this contact.
Eczema typically starts before you’re five years old, and it can persist into adulthood. In some cases, it comes and goes, with even years between outbreaks, while in others, it’s a constant condition when not treated.
Eczema occurs when the natural protective factors break down. In some cases, people are genetically more susceptible to developing eczema, and it appears there’s a connection between food allergies and developing the condition.
If you have a family history that includes eczema, allergies, asthma, or hay fever, you have a higher risk of having eczema. Hay fever and asthmatic conditions are sometimes foreshadowed by eczema, with the respiratory conditions developing several years after eczema begins.
There are also a number of other skin condition seen as complications of eczema, such as contact dermatitis and skin infections resulting from chronic scratching.
Because of the chronic and persistent nature of atopic dermatitis, finding an effective treatment may take time and experimentation between you and your caregivers at Matsuda Dermatology. There are a number of topical creams that may be beneficial, including corticosteroids and a class of drugs called calcineurin inhibitors. Oral corticosteroids may be used periodically to control inflammation.
Antibiotic creams may also be prescribed if you’re suffering from infections related to cracked or chafed skin. Promising new injectable treatments are available for those who don’t respond to other treatments. Controlled amounts of natural sunlight or artificial ultraviolet light sources may also help reduce the severity of an eczema outbreak.