Understanding Skin Allergies

Exploring Eczema

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a kind of skin allergy, but it is of mysterious origin.

Symptoms include red, itchy, dry, scaly patches most frequently on the face, arms, legs, and scalp. Infants and children are particularly susceptible to eczema, but the vast majority of children who have eczema outgrow it. It's clear that there's a connection between eczema and allergies, since 70 percent of those who have this skin condition have a family history of allergies or asthma. And one-third of those with eczema eventually will develop allergic rhinitis or asthma.

There is no cure for eczema. The best preventive measures are to moistureize your skin so it doesn't dry out and to pinpoint and avoid substances that seem to irritate your skin or trigger the rash. Additionally, topical medications containing steroids can help control itching, as can oral antihistamines.

Your skin is always being exposed to potential allergens. Allergic contact dermatitis and eczema are two different types of skin allergies. Identifying and treating them is a matter of being informed and knowledgeable.