Eczema

  Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder
  characterized by redness, swelling, and intense itching. Eczema is
  very common, affecting more than 15 million people in the United
  States. Symptoms often come and go, making eczema difficult to
  diagnosis. Although there is no cure, treatments can reduce symptoms
  and help prevent outbreaks.

Signs and symptoms

  Most people with eczema experience extremely itchy, dry skin, as well
  as rough patches of skin. Other symptoms may include:
  • Blisters that crust over and become scaly
  • Red skin around the blisters
  • Thick, leathery skin

Cause

  The cause of eczema is unknown, but it may be a combination of genetic
  and environmental factors. It often occurs in people with seasonal
  allergies or asthma. For some people, eczema can be triggered or
  worsened by certain factors, including allergies, exposure to certain
  irritants, changes in temperature, exposure to water, and stress.

Risk factors

  Eczema most commonly affects infants and young children. Exposing your
  skin to harsh conditions, living in a climate with low humidity, and
  having a family history of eczema or other allergies can increase your
  risk.

Treatment and prevention

  To reduce the frequency and severity of your breakouts, avoid anything
  that triggers your symptoms, makes them worse, or irritates your skin.
  This may include certain soaps and detergents, clothing made of wool
  or synthetic fibers, or common allergens such as pollen, dust mites,
  and pet dander. Some people experience eczema relief with
  stress-reduction techniques or cognitive behavioral therapy. Keep your
  environment cool and the humidity stable, avoid hot baths or showers,
  and bathe quickly to lessen your contact with water.

  Oral antihistamines taken at night can help relieve itching and
  prevent scratching. For mild scaly patches, try a topical cortisone
  cream. Oral corticosteroids may reduce inflammation in some cases.