Eczema (or atopic dermatitis) is a common skin condition that often appears as dry, scaly patches on the skin. It is often itchy and is typically worsened by dry weather. This condition is not contagious but does run in families.
Eczema is a chronic condition and cannot be cured, but can often be well controlled by sticking to a regular treatment regimen. Treatment is important, both to relieve symptoms of itch and to prevent infection. Areas of active eczema are more prone to infection and treatment decreases this risk. An effective treatment regimen often involves the following:
- Regular application of a thick moisturizer, such as Cetaphil cream, Cerave cream, Aquaphilic, Aquaphor, or Vaseline petroleum jelly. This should be done at least once daily and always immediately following a bath or shower.
- Prescription creams.
- Additional steps to decrease drying of the skin, such as a room or whole house humidifier.
Additional information can be found at the National Eczema Association website.