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Eczema (cont.)

Eczema Prevention

Avoid, when possible, whatever triggers the rash.

See Self-Care at Home for other ideas on preventing eczema flares.

Eczema Prognosis

Atopic dermatitis usually spontaneously improves in most individuals after puberty. In a few unfortunate individuals, it becomes chronic, resulting in occasional flares often at times of very low humidity (such as wintertime with the heat on). It may also return much later in adulthood and may prove especially difficult to manage.

The role of psychological stress inducing flares of the dermatitis is poorly understood. There is no question that when the condition flares and sleep is inhibited by itching, one's normal ability to deal with emotional problems is diminished.

Repeated scratching of the rash can cause toughening of the skin. Small patches of the skin can become thickened and like leather. This condition is called lichen simplex chronicus. The scrotum and vulva are common areas for adult patients with a history of eczema to develop a persistent itch and develop such lichenification. (It would be very unusual for the penis itself to be involved in such cases and other diagnoses should be considered if it appears to be affected.)

Eczema causes skin sores and cracks that are susceptible to infection. These infections are usually very minor, but they do require treatment with antibiotics or they may become very severe. See a health-care professional if an infection is suspected.

Eczema may fade in adulthood, but people who have eczema tend to have lifelong problems with skin irritation and related problems.

  • Dry, sensitive skin
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Skin infections and cold sores
  • Eye irritations
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/12/2015
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Dyshidrotic Eczema »

Dyshidrotic eczema is a recurrent or chronic relapsing form of vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis of unknown etiology.

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