Eczema Explained

Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to be dry, itchy and inflamed. It is a chronic condition that can flare sometimes, and it is not contagious


Eczema is thought to be related to a defect in a gene that can cause the skin to lose its protective barrier against bacteria and substances that induce allergies and can cause the skin to lose the ability to retain moisture. The weaker skin barrier will cause the skin to be inflamed and trigger the immune response which can lead to itching.


Eczema can appear on the skin anywhere, and the symptoms can be different between one person to another. Symptoms generally include:

Dry skinWhich can be itchyRash or swelling of different color and shapeThickened skinDarkening of the skinSensitive skin


To diagnose eczema, your doctor will examine your skin for the lesions and take careful history to identify any allergies that could potentially worsen the eczema.

Your doctor may also recommend performing a test called “patch test”, during which, small amounts of different substances that are known to induce allergy will be put on your skin, and then covered. Later during the next visits, the doctor will examine your skin for any reaction to diagnose the specific allergy you have.


The treatment of eczema starts by maintaining regular moisturization of the skin. If that doesn’t help, your doctor may recommend some medicated creams to help relieving the itching and help repair the skin.

Example of these medications include:

Medicated creams, gels or ointments applied to the skin to control itching and inflammationIf the skin lesions are infected, then your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to fight the infectionsYour doctor may also prescribe oral medications to control the inflammationAnd in some cases of severe eczema, the doctor may prescribe injectable monoclonal antibodies to modulate your immune system to relieve the symptoms of eczemaOther therapies are also used, such as wet dressings to maintain constant moisturization of the skin. Also, light therapy is considered for people who no not improve with topical agents.Your doctor will decide what is the best treatment for your eczema


You can reduce the flare episodes of eczema through developing good skin care habits that will prevent the skin from getting dry and inflamed or infected. You can do the following:

Moisturize the skin at least two times daily with creams, ointments or gelsTake daily bath or shower using warm water, and limit the time of this bath or shower to 10 minutesUse gentle non-soap cleanser that does not have dyes, alcohol or fragrance in it as these can irritate the skin