IN THIS ARTICLE
Avoid, when possible, whatever triggers the rash.
See Self-Care at Home for other ideas on preventing eczema flares.
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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/12/2015
Jeffrey John Meffert, MD
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Must Read Articles Related to Eczema
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Eczema:
Eczema - Effective Treatments
What treatment has been effective for your eczema?
Eczema - Symptoms and Signs
What are your eczema symptoms and signs?
Eczema - Causes
What causes your eczema to flare up?
Eczema - Experience
Please describe your experience with eczema.
Skin Problems and Treatments Resources
- Early Care for Your Premature Baby
- What to Eat When You Have Cancer
- When to Take More Pain Medication