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When To See A Dermatologist For Eczema

When Do I Need To See A Dermatologist

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When Do I Need To See a Dermatologist? You might not consider talking with a dermatologist when youre dealing with skin-related concerns. Sometimes you can resolve your skin issues through makeup, lotions, or other things you can find at your local drugstore.

But there are often times when you will need to contact a dermatologist for help. Here are some instances of times when you need to talk with such an expert.

Your Skin Becomes Inflamed

You might develop inflamed and itchy skin around certain body parts. The skin will swell and become red, and you might notice slight bumps in some areas.

Your dermatologist can talk with you about what triggers the inflammation and what you have been trying to use to correct the issue. Your dermatologist may find you have rosacea or eczema, or another skin disorder that requires extra assistance.

Such conditions will require different treatments, as some traditional lotions and other products you find at your local market might not work well against rosacea or eczema.

Skin Moles and Growths Appear

People often notice skin growths and moles around their bodies as they age. These arent always appealing, and they can be signs of skin cancer or another severe condition. These features could be signs of cancer if:

Contact your dermatologist immediately if you see any moles or growths that look unusual. You may be referred by your dermatologist to a doctor who can treat the issue before it becomes worse.

Noticeable Veins

Medicines For Atopic Dermatitis

If your doctor decides you need meds to treat your eczema, those may include:

Hydrocortisone. Over-the-counter cream or ointment versions of it may help mild eczema. If yours is severe, you may need a prescription dose.

Antihistamines. Ones you take by mouth are available over-the-counter and may help relieve symptoms. Some of these make you drowsy, but others donât.

Corticosteroids. Your doctor may prescribe these if other treatments donât work. Always follow your doctor’s directions when taking steroids by mouth.

Drugs that work on your immune system. Your doctor may consider these medicines — such as azathioprine, cyclosporine, or methotrexate — if other treatments donât help. There are also prescription creams and ointments that treat eczema by controlling inflammation and reducing immune system reactions. Examples include pimecrolimus , which is a cream, and crisaborole and tacrolimus , which are ointments. You should only use these for a short time if other treatments don’t work — and you should never use them on kids younger than 2, according to the FDA.

Injectables. Dupilumab is an injectable medicine for moderate to severe eczema. It works by controlling the bodyâs inflammatory response. This medicine is given every 2 weeks as an injection and should only be used by people 12 and older.

Prescription-strength moisturizers. These support the skinâs barrier.

Find out which eczema treatment is right for you.

What Is The Underlying Cause For Eczema

Medical researchers acknowledge the fact that there is no proven cause of eczema. However, most of them believe that a combination of genes and an external or internal trigger can lead to eczema.

Research shows that most of the patients who suffer from this condition tend to have an over-reactive immune system that produces the inflammation when triggered by either internal environment or external substances. It is this inflammation that causes the itchy and sometimes painful symptoms of eczema.

Research has also revealed that some patients with dermatitis have a gene mutation responsible for creating filaggrin a special protein which primary role is to help your body maintain a healthy and protective barrier on the top layer of your skin.

If your body fails to produce enough filaggrin to build the protective layer, you end up losing a lot of moisture, letting in bacteria and other viruses ultimately leading to chronic inflammation. This is the primary reason why many individuals with dermatitis have dry and infection-prone skin.

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An Eye For Warning Signs Can Save Your Eyesight

If you have AD, its important to play close attention to your eyes. When an eye problem lasts more than a few days, make an appointment to see your dermatologist or eye doctor.

You should also have eye exams as often as your eye doctor recommends. Ophthalmologists are the experts at diagnosing eye disease. Caught early, the eye diseases linked to AD are highly treatable.


ReferencesHeiting G. Eye problems and diseases. Website last accessed January 31, 2018.

Leung DYM, Eichenfield LF, et al. Atopic dermatitis. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatricks dermatology in general medicine. McGraw Hill Medical, USA, 2008:152.

Thyssen JP, Toft PB, et al. Incidence, prevalence, and risk of selected ocular disease in adults with atopic dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 77:280-6.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

Hyperpigmentation Or Sunspots Brown Spots And Melasma

How tell if your rash is contact dermatitis, eczema ...

“Topical things can be helpful, like vitamin C, mineral sunscreen, AHAs, BHAs, retinoids. But oftentimes you need laser to kind of break up the pigmentation,” says Dr. Campbell. Chemical peels can also be really good for these conditions. “Chemical peels can be somewhat unpredictable. It’s really important you go to someone who understands different ethnicities and skin types and what works for one and not the other.”

She also says the oral medication tranexamic acid, can be helpful for discoloration.

“It’s a medication that historically has been used for abnormal uterine bleeding for women. But at much lower doses, it’s shown to be helpful for melasma and some other disorders of hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Campbell. She says that’s because there’s a vascular component to hyperpigmentation disorders.

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How Can An Allergist/immunologist Help

An appointment with an allergist/immunologist for chronic hives isnt all that different than one with a dermatologist. However, if your allergist suspects an allergy, she may do allergy testing with blood tests or skin pricks. But, unlike the acute variety, chronic hives are rarely caused by an allergen. This specialist may also do more autoimmune tests to rule out an underlying autoimmune condition, including a chronic urticaria Index test to measure the amount of histamine in your blood.

âA positive CU Index is a value greater than or equal to 10which may point to a possible autoimmune conditions and other conditions that can be associated with histamine release,â says Clifford Bassett, M.D., an allergist/immunologist and assistant clinical of medicine at NYU Langone Grossman School of Medicine in New York City.

Treatments prescribed by an allergist will also typically include those high-dose oral anti-histamines, as well as histamine blockers. Bassett also prescribes Xolair injections for more complicated cases that dont respond to the oral meds. An allergist may also be able to counsel you on whats triggering your hives or making them worse . In the allergy community, we spend an extraordinary amount of time taking a detailed history, looking at your environment, and your exposure, Dr. Bassett says. Certain foods, medications, hot or cold weather, and products youre currently using can all factor in.

Avoiding Atopic Dermatitis Triggers

Everyoneâs eczema is different. Common triggers include stress, sweat, certain chemicals, dust, and pollen. Some foods can trigger flares in infants and children. A symptom diary can help you track your or your childâs triggers so you know what to avoid.

Try these tips to limit contact with triggers:

  • Protect your skin, especially when the weather is cold and dry.
  • Be careful with soaps, shampoos, and other commercial skin care items. Read the labels carefully.
  • Rinse laundry twice to remove detergent residue.

View a slideshow to see top eczema triggers to avoid.

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What Are The Complications Of Having Eczema

As skin with eczema lesions is often broken, it places the sufferer at risk of contracting skin infections. At the first sign of any infection, professional medical advice should be sought.

Eczema sufferers are also at risk of developing herpes simplex type 1 which can spread over a large area of the skin. Because herpes simplex can spread over wide areas, its important to see your doctor for prompt treatment.

Warts can be caused by viral infections. They can take up to 12 months to clear themselves up.

People with eczema are also at risk of contracting a widespread skin infection known as impetigo . Treatments for this include antibiotic tablets and antiseptic creams.

To avoid any complications associated with vaccination, the disease should be discussed with a medical professional. Normal childhood immunizations generally pose no risk to the eczema sufferer.

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Ad May Increase Your Risk For Some Eye Diseases

How does a Dermatologist treat Eczema in children

It seems that the more severe the AD, the higher your risk of developing certain eye diseases. At least, thats the finding from a 15-year study run in Denmark.

During this study, researchers looked at the medical records of adults in Denmark. In doing so, they discovered that those with AD had a higher risk of developing an eye infection called conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.

Pink eye : Signs that you may have pink eye include:

  • Pink color to your eye

  • Watery, itchy eyes

  • Eyes sensitive to light

  • Wet, sticky or dry, crusty eyes

In this study, adults with AD also had a higher risk of developing the following eye diseases.

Inflamed cornea : This eye disease occurs when the eye becomes infected or inflamed. Warning signs include your eyes feeling:

  • Painful or uncomfortable

  • As if you have something in them

  • Gritty

When caught early and properly treated, keratitis can often be cured.

Cornea changes shape

The cornea of the eye is normally round, as shown here.

Frequently rubbing your eyes can change the shape of your cornea. As the cornea starts to change shape, it begins to bulge. It becomes cone-shaped. This change in shape can cause the following warning signs:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Sensitivity to light, especially when driving at night
  • Constantly changing prescription for eyeglasses or contacts

Signs of keratoconus

If you have any warning signs of keratoconus, ask your eye doctor to take a close look at the shape of your cornea.

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Besides Dry Itchy Skin What Are The Other Eczema Symptoms

The itching may also come along with a rash of red or brown patches in a few key areas of your body. These patches are most likely to show up on your hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, and inside the bends of your elbows and knees, according to the Mayo Clinic. You might have small, raised bumps that itch, then weep fluid and crust over when you scratch them.

It might feel irresistible to attack your eczema with your nails, but try not to. Scratching tends to only make it worse, Holly Gunn, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, tells SELF. If you scratch, your skin may also become swollen and raw, the Mayo Clinic explains.

Treatment For Eczema And Dermatitis

The goal of treatment for eczema and dermatitis is to alleviate the signs and symptoms of the skin ailment using the least amount of medication. Our dermatologists recommend at-home therapies to prevent and treat mild rashes, and offer phototherapy and medication for people whose symptoms persist despite nonprescription treatment.

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Eczema And Atopic Dermatitis: Symptoms And Causes

Eczema and atopic dermatitis may seem like two different names for the same condition and indeed, the terms are often used interchangeably but there are differences. Eczema refers to a group of inflammatory skin conditions that count red, itchy, skin as symptoms, according to the National Eczema Association . We dont know the exact cause of eczema, but we do know that allergens or irritants prompt the immune system to work overtime. This hyperactive immune response leads to inflammation, which ultimately results in red, itchy skin.

There are several different types of eczema, but atopic dermatitis is the most common, per the American Academy of Dermatology . Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that usually starts in childhood and often runs in families, says Samer Jaber, MD, the founder of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City.Some kids outgrow their atopic dermatitis as they get older, but others continue to have symptoms into adulthood, notes the NEA. Atopic dermatitis is especially common in people with allergies and hay fever.

Itchy skin is the hallmark symptom of atopic dermatitis, and rashes and dry skin are common, says the NEA. When people who have the condition itch their skin, rashes can ooze and bleed, which can lead to infection. While atopic dermatitis cant be cured, there are many doctors and healthcare providers who can help you manage your symptoms.

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Whats The Best Climate For People With Eczema

Do I Need To See A Dermatologist For Eczema ...

The temperature is mostly sunny throughout the year, but with moderate heat and cold seasons. Noted as the countrys least polluted state with zero high-ozone days, Honolulu is especially suitable for people whose eczema triggers up in cold weather. The humidity is balanced to moisturize and dry your skin naturally.

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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Eczema

  • How can you tell that I have eczema?
  • If I dont have eczema, what other skin condition might I have?
  • Is there a specific brand of moisturizer that you recommend?
  • Is there a prescription cream that you can prescribe?
  • How often should I see a dermatologist regarding my eczema?
  • What soaps, lotions, makeup, etc. should I avoid?
  • What medications do you recommend?
  • What at-home treatments do you recommend?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Eczema is very normal, very common, and very, very uncomfortable. It can affect your quality of life. At its worse it can keep you from sleeping, distract you and make you feel self-conscious in public. See your dermatologist or other healthcare provider as soon as you start to see signs of it. Explore at-home remedies and prescribed treatments.

Youre not alone! 15% to 20% of people experience eczema or another type of dermatitis at some point in their lives.

Other Treatment On Prescription

If steroid creams dont help your eczema, there is a range of other medicines available on prescription.

  • Topical immunosuppressants, such as tacrolimus or pimecrolimus are creams that you apply to your skin to reduce inflammation. You may be prescribed these if other treatments havent worked or if you cant use them because of their side-effects as a result of the steroid.
  • Antibiotics, such as flucloxacillin or erythromycin, are used if your eczema has become infected.
  • Antihistamine tablets are not often recommended, however if your eczema is stopping you from sleeping, they may be prescribed to reduce irritation and itching, which in turn will greatly improve your quality of life.
  • Oral steroids, such as prednisolone, are available as tablets to treat severe eczema. You will be prescribed these for as short a time as possible but they should be used as a last resort.

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If Your Child Has Moderate To Severe Eczema

  • When eczema becomes moderate or severe, a child needs more than treatment you can buy without a prescription.

  • Its important to work closely with a dermatologist to manage the eczema.

  • Dermatologists have experience treating patients with a variety of corticosteroids. They know how to manage these medications and other parts of the treatment plan, such as skin care and trigger avoidance, to best maintain control of the eczema.

Related AAD resources

What Is Pediatric Eczema And When Should We See A Doctor

Dermatologist Visit| Eczema Journey | Vlogmas Day 6

May 7, 2021

Watching your child suffer from pediatric eczema can be stressful and difficult, but it is a common and treatable skin problem. As a pediatric dermatologist at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Childrens Hospital, I’m here to answer your questions about treating this itchy skin condition and explain how a physician can help.

What is pediatric eczema?

Pediatric eczema usually refers to atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that leads to dry, scaly patches of skin that are often red, inflamed and very itchy. The first lesions may appear before an infant is 6 months old, but it most commonly occurs before a child turns 5. However, eczema can affect almost anyone at any age, and the condition can come and go throughout a persons life.

Atopic dermatitis often flares after exposure to certain triggers that irritate the skin. Common triggers include dry cold weather, outdoor allergens , fragrance , pets , and chemicals from smoking. Many organic or all natural products can be irritating to the skin since they contain botanical ingredients, which are common allergens. Contrary to popular belief, foods are rarely triggers for eczema.

What pediatric eczema symptoms should a parent look for?

The primary symptoms associated with eczema are red, dry, scaly patches of skin. Often, they are extremely itchy.

Here are some symptoms of pediatric eczema at different ages:

How do I know if my child is at risk?

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Hospital Treatment From A Dermatologist

If you have severe eczema and none of the more conventional treatments mentioned above have helped, you may need to come in and see a dermatologist at one of our hospitals.

This may include the use of medicated paste bandages to soothe and protect your skin. This is especially effective on young children and can help limit scratching. There is also the option of ultraviolet light treatment, known as .

How Is Eczema Diagnosed What Tests Are Done

Your healthcare provider will take a close look at your skin. They will look for classic signs of eczema such as a redness and dryness. They will ask about the symptoms youre experiencing.

Usually your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose eczema based on examining your skin. However, when there is doubt, they may perform the following tests:

  • An allergy skin test.
  • Blood tests to check for causes of the rash that might be unrelated to dermatitis.
  • A skin biopsy to distinguish one type of dermatitis from another.

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