Eczema & Rashes

Eczema is a broad term that means a scaly, pink rash that can itch. When an adult is told they have eczema, it usually means that they have dry, sensitive skin that has become so dry and irritated that it broke down into a scaly, pink rash. Eczema can appear on the hands, neck, or anywhere else.

When a child is told that they have eczema, this usually means that they have "atopic dermatitis." This is sensitive skin that often runs in families and becomes itchy and rashes up easily from little irritation or dryness. In atopic dermatitis, the skin has difficulty keeping allergens and irritants out, and has difficulty holding moisture in. Children very commonly get atopic dermatitis in the bends of their elbows, behind their knees, and on their faces. Most children outgrow their atopic dermatitis, but have a higher likelihood of developing asthma and seasonal allergies in adulthood. Uncommonly, adults can continue to have atopic dermatitis throughout their lives.

Treatment of eczema usually consists of prescription topical steroids, emollient moisturizing creams to seal in moisture, and in severe cases, oral antibiotics.

Other rashes commonly treated in our office:


Seborrheic dermatitis: a scaly, pink rash that shows up on the scalp and on the T-zone of the face as dandruff

Allergic contact dermatitis: an extremely itchy allergic reaction to things such as poison ivy, nickel, neomycin, perfumes, etc. The itchy rash usually appears within 48 hours after touching or brushing against a substance to which the skin is sensitive.

Dyshidrotic eczema: a particularly itchy form of eczema found on the palms, soles, or sides of the fingers


Irritant dermatitis: pink, irritated skin caused by direct chemical damage to an external irritant. The hands are the most common site of irritant contact dermatitis due to repeated exposure to soaps, cleansers, and solvents at home and at the workplace.


Stasis dermatitis: inflamed, pink skin on the lower legs due to the presence of swelling and "venous stasis." In severe cases, the skin can break down to form small ulcers. Patients with stasis dermatitis need to wear compression stockings to improve their condition.