Eczema, otherwise known as Atopic Dermatitis if we are speaking in medical terms. This itchy, red rash can appear on the face, elbows, chest, arms, and behind the knees. Over time it can become thick and scaly, and usually is the result of a trigger, such as allergic reaction or associated with a family history of asthma.

In the U.S., almost 20% of newborns will have Eczema during the first 8 months of their lives.  These children also have a high likelihood of having asthma and hay fever, along with other allergies later in life.

Eczema is characterized by a rise in the pH of the skin, which opens the door for secondary infections, particularly staph infections, on an infant’sm child’s, or adults skin. Fortunately, there has been significant recent research and breakthrough improvements in treatment for both pediatric and adult Atopic Dermatitis. There is now even the possibility that typical asthma and allergies that come later in life due to pediatric eczema, may even be preventable.

Treatments include prescribed lotions and creams, as well as over the counter hydrocortisone cream. Elidel and Protopic have both been approved by the FDA as treatment.

There is a strong genetic component to this disease, and if one or both parents had it, their children have a high likelihood of contracting it in infancy.

It is one of the most common skin conditions babies will encounter. Only 3% of adults will have flare ups or symptoms throughout life. There is not a known cause, however a “flare up” is linked to an allergic reaction or overactive immune response. While there is not cure, the condition can be treated. Eczema is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person.

Your doctor or dermatologist will be able to look at your skin and tell you if you have eczema, and also recommend the best course of treatment.