If you or a loved one has eczema, Dr. Gary Stadtmauer would be happy to help because he can relate–he has had eczema since early childhood. Here you will find compassionate care, empathy and sound practical and medical advice from the NYC eczema specialist who really understands you.
What is Eczema?:
Eczema is often called the “itch that rashes” as opposed to other “rashes that itch.” Any body surface area in a patient with eczema can become involved. Eczematous skin may be dry (scale and flake), wet (scratched to the point of redness and bleeding), or if bacterial or viral infection is introduced by scratching, blister and ooze. Classically childhood eczema is in the creases of the elbows and knees as well as the neck and sometimes, groin, armpits and face.
What Causes Eczema>
Eczema is often associated with other allergies and it is probably worth testing for environmental allergies. Also, about 1/3 of young children with severe eczema have a food allergy that contributes to the cause. Allergy testing and elimination diets may be helpful in that circumstance. Other triggers are nonspecific (the dryness of the winter and the heat of summer (sweating irritates eczema as well).
Two types of tests are usually done for patients with eczema. The first is for airborne allergens (pollens, dust, pets) and the second is patch testing for chemical sensitivities.
How to take care of eczema:
Managing eczema is a challenging because it requires constant vigilance and time. Aggressive moisturizing is the first step in eczema care. Beyond that, the topical medications work for some but not all patients and the more the topical steroids are used, the less effective they become over time. They also thin the skin. Nonsteroidal topical therapy for eczema can be effective but many of these medications burn and are sometimes best used after a steroid cream has calmed down the inflamed areas. Even when the eczema is under control it is vital to maintain meticulous skin care to prevent a relapse. For the most severe eczema patients, biologic drugs may be appropriate.