Eczema Specialist

Coastal Medical & Cosmetic Dermatology

Medical & Cosmetic Dermatology located in La Jolla, CA

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a common childhood skin problem that affects as many as 20% of children worldwide. While it’s possible for adults to develop the condition, nearly all cases of eczema first appear during childhood. Eczema rashes may be an ongoing problem, but the condition can be controlled with proper management strategies. At Coastal Medical & Cosmetic Dermatology in La Jolla, California, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Darrell Gonzales provides comprehensive care for patients of all ages with eczema. Call the office or book your appointment online.

Eczema Q & A

What is eczema?

Eczema, a common chronic skin condition that mostly affects young children, generally causes itchy, painful rashes.   

It’s estimated that 90% of people who have eczema developed the condition before their fifth birthday. Although the condition is chronic, only about half of the people who developed childhood eczema continue to have symptoms as adults.

Infants who develop eczema before their first birthday often get dry, red, scaly patches on their cheeks, forehead, and scalp.

Children who develop the condition after the age of two are more likely to experience rashes in the creases of their elbows or knees, or along their neck, wrists, or ankles.

In adults, eczema is more likely to cover larger areas of the body, and it can also be especially severe on the neck, face, and around the eyes.

Eczema can be extremely itchy. Symptoms often worsen at night, and the urge to itch is often intense enough to disrupt sleep. Many patients scratch their skin until it breaks, leaving it prone to infection.

What causes eczema?

Researchers don’t know exactly what causes eczema, but it does appear to have a genetic component. Children who develop the skin problem are usually closely related to someone who has either eczema, hay fever, or asthma.

Roughly half of all children with eczema continue to have mild symptoms as adults. Many babies who develop eczema in early infancy, on the other hand, no longer have any symptoms at all by their second birthdays.

What are some eczema management strategies?

Eczema is a chronic, long-term skin disorder, which means that it can’t be cured. It can, however, be controlled.

If you want to prevent eczema from worsening, reduce its symptoms, and avoid skin infection, it’s important to manage the condition. Proper treatment and an eczema-friendly skin care routine can go a long way in alleviating discomfort and preventing recurrence.

Dr. Gonzales can develop a customized treatment plan that helps:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Relieve itching and pain
  • Clear any infection
  • Loosen and remove lesions
  • Decrease new lesions

Effective eczema control also includes avoiding any known triggers. While you may not always know the specific cause of a flare-up, some of the most common triggers include:

  • Stress and sweat
  • Irritating detergents and soaps     
  • Dry air and sunburns

Daily eczema management includes a controlled skin regimen that involves bathing and moisturizing as recommended.

Showers or baths should be warm, not hot, and relatively short. Cleansers should be mild and fragrance-free. It’s also important to apply topical medications and moisturizer just after bathing, when skin is still moist.