Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) is a very common, chronic, itchy skin condition. It most commonly starts in infancy to early childhood, but can start at any age.*

Those with eczema usually have an ‘atopic tendency’, and have a tendency to develop any or all of three closely linked conditions; eczema (atopic dermatitis), asthma and hay fever (allergic rhinitis).* These conditions usually run in families.* A family history of asthma, eczema or hay fever is helpful in diagnosing eczema in infants.*

There are multiple factors involved in the pathogenesis of eczema.* These include a genetically impaired skin barrier, making the skin more susceptible to environmental factors such as soaps/detergents, and dry weather. Airborne allergens including house dust mite, as well as surface microorganisms (Staphyloccus Aureus and Malassezia), stress hormones, immunological factors and autoinflammatory factors, can all play a role.* While food allergies (a separate condition) often coexist, food usually plays a minor, if any, role in most cases of eczema.* Allergic contact dermatitis is a separate condition to eczema (atopic dermatitis).* Usually the two can be easily separated on clinical grounds, but sometimes allergy patch testing can help.*

Unfortunately the complex pathogenesis of this condition makes it difficult for patients and parents to understand the reason for the disease, and therefore many search tirelessly for a single elusive causative factor and cure, often at considerable financial cost, and unfortunately often while neglecting simple treatments which can safely control the disease.* There is also a lot of misinformation from different sources (friends, family, pharmacists) about different treatments, making getting appropriate management harder still.*

Our dermatologist can help you understand the various factors involved in your or your child’s eczema, and tailor a simple and safe management program.* This will include general advice, and non-pharmacological measures, as well as prescription treatments tailored to your specific case.*

*Results may vary; no guarantees.