Eczema

Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic

Allergists, Asthma Specialists, & Immunologists located in the Pacific Region

Eczema is a common rash that causes persistent, itchy red patches of skin. The team of multidisciplinary providers at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic provides expert diagnosis and treatment for eczema at 13 convenient locations across state lines in Fremont, Oakland, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, San Mateo, and San Leandro, California; Clackamas and Gresham, Oregon; Bellevue, Fishers Landing, Longview, and Salmon Creek, Washington; and Eagle, Idaho. If you or your child has eczema, you don’t need to suffer through the discomfort. Call Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic or schedule a consultation online today.

Eczema Q & A

What is eczema?

Eczema is the collective term for a group of skin conditions that cause irritating symptoms such as: 

  • Sensitive, dry skin
  • Inflamed, red skin
  • Severe itchiness
  • Skin discoloration
  • Rough patches of skin that look leathery or scaly
  • Oozing or crusting

There are several different types of eczema. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which is what most patients mean when they talk about eczema. Atopic dermatitis is an immunologic response to an irritant or allergen. The rash comes and goes, and you may or may not know what triggers your flare-ups.

Other types of eczema include:

  • Contact dermatitis
  • Dyshidrotic eczema
  • Nummular eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Stasis dermatitis

Eczema isn’t contagious, although patients of all ages can develop eczema. For example, many infants and children suffer from eczema on their face when they’re little, but their flare-ups fade and disappear as they age. You may also develop eczema for the first time as an adult.

What causes eczema?

Eczema develops when an irritant triggers your immune system. Although eczema triggers vary between patients. Some common triggers include:

  • Soaps
  • Laundry detergents
  • Cleaning solvents
  • Foods such as chocolate, nuts, and soy
  • Poison ivy
  • Some medicines
  • Stress
  • Wool and synthetic fabrics

Medical researchers don’t yet understand why some people get eczema, and others don’t. Your genes could play a factor, and your risk of eczema is higher if you also have asthma or allergies. 

How is eczema treated?

While there’s no cure for eczema, the talented doctors at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic offer highly personalized therapies to reduce the frequency and severity of your eczema flare-ups. 

They begin with comprehensive testing to identify your triggers. Often you can reduce your eczema flare-ups by avoiding your triggers. You can also limit your risk of a flare-up by keeping your skin clean, dry, and moisturized. Your doctor can recommend a good cream or ointment to lock moisture into your skin. 

Your Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic doctor might also recommend that you wear soft, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen and uses fragrance-free soaps and detergents.

The practice also provides treatments for your eczema, including creams and pills, to reduce the itching or lessen your risk of infection if you scratch until your skin breaks open. You may also benefit from light therapy. 

If you or your child is troubled by eczema, call Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic or make an appointment online today.