Mohs Surgery
Dermatologist Scottsdale AZ
Scottsdale Dermatologist Dr. LaTowsky


What is eczema?
Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) is a chronic skin condition that manifests as irritated, itchy patches of skin. Eczema tends to run in families and is commonly associated with other conditions, such as asthma and seasonal allergies. 

The exact cause of eczema is not known, but it is common in childhood but may not manifest until later years.  If a child gets eczema, dry and scaly patches appear on the skin. These patches often appear on the scalp, forehead, face, cheeks, folds of the arms, the back of the knees, and wrists. No matter where it appears, eczema is often very itchy, and scratching can also lead to a skin infection.

Eczema and its symptoms are different for everyone.  Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Dry, sensitive skin
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Very bad itching
  • Dark colored patches of skin
  • Rough, leathery or scaly patches of skin
  • Oozing or crusting
  • Areas of swelling 
Are there different types of eczema?
Yes, there are several types of eczema. 

Another form of eczema, dyshidrotic eczema (DE), causes small, deep-seated blisters, usually located on the hands and in-between the fingers; blisters may also develop on the feet. Regardless of the location, these blisters are often very itchy and painful. When the blisters clear (usually in two to three weeks), the skin tends to be red, dry, and cracked.
DE is not curable and comes in flares.  Causes of DE flares may include:

  • Stress
  • Temperature rises during the spring and summer
  • Prolonged period of hands staying wet

DE flares range from mild to debilitating. A severe flare on the feet can make walking difficult, while blisters on the hands can make it challenging to work and perform everyday tasks, like shampooing hair and washing dishes.

What causes eczema?
Everyday environmental factors may cause eczema to flare up, and knowing the patient’s specific triggers is key to managing eczema.  Some common eczema triggers are:

  • Dry skin: When the skin is too dry, it can become scaly or rough.
  • Irritants: Found in products used on the body or in the home, such as hand or dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, bubble bath, body wash, surface cleaners, or disinfectants. Even some natural liquids, like the juice from fruits or vegetables, can irritate skin.
  • Allergens: Materials in the environment can cause an allergic reaction.  Some of the most common are seasonal pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold, and dandruff.
  • Stress: Emotional stress impacts the skin’s health.
  • Hot and cold temperatures: Heat can cause sweat and result in skin becoming itchy, while winter months increase the skin’s dryness, leading to irritation.

How is eczema treated?
Regardless of the type of eczema, it is important to learn how to best take care of your skin to avoid flare-ups.  Your treatment plan may include:
  • Identification, education and management of environmental factors
  • Consistent, customized at-home skincare regimen
  • Prescription medications

If you or a loved one suffers from eczema, please schedule an appointment with one of our providers. We will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to help get your eczema under control.



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