More than 31 million Americans — about 10% — suffer from the red, scaly, itchy symptoms of eczema, a skin condition that affects people of all ages and skin types. A chronic skin condition, eczema has symptoms that tend to vary and get worse during flare-ups.
If you suffer from eczema, you might be worried you’ll spread it to someone else. And if you don’t have eczema, you might worry about catching it. The good news: Eczema is not contagious, which means you can’t catch it and you can’t spread it to someone else.
As leading dermatologists in Washington, DC, Todd E. Perkins, MD, and Edward H. Stolar, MD, use a custom approach to eczema treatment at Metroderm DC: Medical, Laser, and Aesthetic Dermatology Center.
Here’s what we want you to know about why eczema happens, its symptoms, and its management.
Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema is a skin condition that affects your skin’s natural protective barrier, making it more sensitive to allergens, irritants, and germs.
There’s no cure for eczema, but you can effectively manage it with a comprehensive skin care routine that includes lifestyle changes, regular dermatology visits, and medication.
Eczema often develops during childhood. Sometimes, symptoms resolve during adulthood, but sometimes they persist or recur. The symptoms of eczema can also vary from one person to another, but generally include:
- Severe itching
- Excessive skin dryness
- Reddish or brownish areas of skin
- Scaly skin patches
- Skin bumps that may ooze
- Heightened skin sensitivity
Repeated rubbing and scratching can lead to thick, leathery skin, a condition called lichenification.
While eczema isn’t contagious, it does run in families, and some people’s genes make them more prone to the condition. That means if you have a close family member who has eczema, you have a greater chance of having eczema, too.
Outside of that heritable connection, though, there’s no way to pass eczema to someone else.
Eczema flare-ups can be triggered by outside stimuli, like dry weather, temperature changes, exposure to irritants, or even excess stress. Avoiding or managing those triggers can play a key role in reducing symptoms, but it’s not the only treatment.
At MetroDerm DC, we recommend an array of treatments depending in part on the severity and frequency of your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. Some treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter medications, including skin creams and lotions
- Lifestyle changes, including optimized skin care and stress reduction activities
- Prescription medications
- Injection therapy to relieve itching and inflammation
- Laser treatment
- UV light therapy
- Medicated dressings
Many of our patients benefit from a combination of therapies. Regular office visits ensure your treatment stays on track as your eczema symptoms evolve.
Get relief for your eczema symptoms
Eczema isn’t contagious, but it can be uncomfortable. Maintaining a regular treatment regimen is the best way to manage those symptoms and keep your skin healthy.
To learn more about eczema care at our Washington, DC, practice, call us at 202-659-2223 or book an appointment online today.