Eczema

Lyon Primary Care

Primary Care Physicians located in Midtown, New York, NY

If you're one of the millions of people in the U.S. who experience the itchiness and skin irritation associated with eczema, we've got good news: effective treatments await at Lyon Primary Care in Midtown, New York, NY. Our board-certified family medicine specialist, Valerie Lyon, M.D., can identify the type of eczema you have and design a customized care plan that stops the itch and soothes your skin. Call our office today to schedule your visit.

Eczema Q&A

Lyon Primary Care

What is eczema?

Eczema is a broad term that describes several skin conditions which are typically accompanied by an itchy rash and red, irritated skin. You can have more than one type of eczema. The most commonly diagnosed form of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which typically begins in childhood — even infancy — and can worsen off and on throughout your life.

Other types of eczema include:

  • Contact dermatitis
  • Dyshidrotic eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Stasis dermatitis

What are the symptoms of eczema?

Eczema typically causes itching, redness, and inflammation of your skin. Some forms — such as dyshidrotic eczema — appear as red, itchy blisters with peeling skin (after the blisters open). Atopic dermatitis causes patches of dry, red skin on your cheeks, legs, arms, and other areas of your body. Many people with atopic dermatitis also have asthma and hay fever.

Seborrheic dermatitis results in flaking skin on areas of your body that are covered by hair, such as your scalp (dandruff). It’s also responsible for the “cradle cap” that many infants develop. It can show up on oily regions of your face, such as the area around your nose.

Stasis dermatitis is related to problems with blood flow, usually in your lower legs and feet, and often starts with swelling in your ankles. Other symptoms of stasis dermatitis include dry scaly skin that may eventually crack and become quite painful or develop into open sores.

What causes eczema?

Eczema is not a contagious rash that you “catch” from someone. It’s often related to a faulty immune system that overreacts to certain environmental allergens or irritants. This reaction is what causes the itching, redness, and skin irritation associated with many forms of eczema.

Seborrheic dermatitis is not related to a specific allergy but may be linked to conditions that affect your immune system, such as lupus. Yeast and other fungal skin infections are often linked to seborrheic dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis can occur with repeated hand washing or exposure to harsh chemicals and cleansers. High levels of stress can also trigger a flare-up of your eczema.

What are the treatments for eczema?

Treatment for your eczema depends on the type you have and the severity of your symptoms. We may recommend a combination of therapies, including:

  • Topical treatments to reduce itching and help repair your skin
  • Prescription creams (Elidel) that control your immune response, used for severe cases
  • Oral medications to control inflammation
  • Light therapy (phototherapy)