Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes skin inflammation and itchiness. It can be triggered by multiple factors including allergens, irritants, or genetic factors.
There are several types of eczema, such as:
Sometimes eczema can also be a result of exogenous or external factors resulting in skin inflammation, this is known as contact dermatitis.
Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form occurring in children and adults and often occurs in families with a background of asthma or hay fever.
Eczema presents with itchy, scaly red patches and dry, flaky skin. Sometimes, when the eczema is severe or infected it can result in pus-filled blisters, painful weepy areas and extensive crusting.
The location of atopic dermatitis may vary with the age of the patient.
In some children, the rash can be extensive and cover the entire body.
A dermatologist can diagnose eczema based on a clinical examination. Blood and skin tests are usually not necessary to make the diagnosis. However, sometimes additional tests may be required:
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Here are some known triggers that can cause eczema flare-ups.
While eczema cannot be “cured”, there are many ways of controlling it. These include the following:
Understanding and avoiding your triggers is an effective way to reduce flare-ups.
This involves regular application of moisturizers and using soap-free substitutes for bathing or showering.
This involves applying medication directly on the skin, usually in the form of topical corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors. This is the most common way to treat eczema.
In some cases of infected eczema, topical and or/oral antibiotics may also be prescribed.
While these do not treat the inflammation in eczema, they can help with itch relief and improve the patient’s quality of life and sleep.
Special dressings may be worn on top of creams to prevent scratching and improve absorption of topicals. Your dermatologist may encourage “wet wrap therapy” which is a special method to improve.
For more moderate to severe cases, you may be prescribed other forms of treatment in the form of phototherapy, systemic (oral) immunomodulators or even injectable biologic therapy.
The choice of treatment(s) depends on the severity of the condition and how it is affecting the patient’s quality of life.
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We are dedicated to your skin health and well-being. Our results-oriented approach is suitable for a wide range of hair, skin and nail conditions. Consult our MOH-accredited dermatologist for a personalised treatment plan.
MBBS (S'pore) MRCP (UK) FAMS (Dermatology)
Dr. Lee Hwee Chyen is an accredited Adult & Paediatric dermatologist managing a wide range of skin, hair and nail conditions. The clinic provides services for medical, surgical, cosmetic, women’s and paediatric dermatology.
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101 Irrawaddy Road #16-09
Royal Square at Novena, Singapore 329565
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No, eczema is not contagious and cannot be spread from one person to another. It’s a chronic skin condition that results from an individual’s genetic predisposition and exposure to environmental triggers.
While there’s no cure for eczema, it can be managed effectively with lifestyle changes, medication, and proper skincare. Treatment typically focuses on reducing inflammation, relieving itchiness, and repairing the skin barrier.
Yes, eczema has a hereditary component and is more likely to occur in individuals with a family history of allergies, asthma, or hay fever.
Stress can worsen eczema symptoms by compromising the skin’s barrier function and triggering the release of inflammatory substances.
A dermatologist can accurately diagnose eczema through a physical examination, evaluation of your medical and family history, and possibly additional testing, such as patch testing.