Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
DeBritt Ealey, LAc
Itching, Red Skin? It could be Eczema?
Allergy Solutions of Reston

Itching, Red Skin? It could be Eczema?

What is Eczema?

According to Princeton University, eczema is a generic term for inflammatory conditions of the skin. It is caused by a hypersensitivity reaction, which is similar to an allergy, and can lead to long-term inflammation in the skin. Thisinflammation, which can come from a variety of different irritants, often causes the skin to become very itchy, red and sometimes flaky.When eczema is present for long periodsof time, the skin canthicken and darken due to the continued scratching thatgoes along with the condition. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease states that the prevalence of atopic eczema is increasing and affects 9% to 30% of the U.S. population. It is particularly common in young children and infants. Many children will outgrow the symptoms before they are five years old. However, roughly half of the children with eczema may continue to experience the symptoms or develop other conditions such as hay fever, allergies or asthma.

What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?

No matter which part of the skin is affected, eczema is almost always itchy. Many times the itching will start before any rash or redness appears. When the rash begins, it most commonly occurs on the face, behind the knees, at the elbow crease, the hands, or feet. However, it may also affect other areas as well.

Since many people with eczema also suffer from allergies, your doctor may perform allergy tests to determine possible irritants or triggers that can increase the symptoms. Children with eczema are especially likely to be tested for allergies. Because eczema can be caused by allergic factors, it's important to know what allergic factors may be to blame for an outbreak of eczema.

Possible Causes

Some people who suffer from eczema find that their symptoms increase in direct response to eating certain foods. Some of the most common foods to increase eczema symptoms are

Soy products

Dairy and Eggs



Fruit (mostly citrus fruits, but includes strawberries as well)


Wheat products


Edible chemical additives- preservatives and food colorings

There can be many environmental triggers that can increase the symptoms of eczema as well. Some of the most common environmental triggers that increase eczema symptoms are

Dust/dust mites

Pollens and grasses

Pet dander


Personal care products (soaps, shampoos, fragrances)


Eczema has also been linked to the climate. Cold weather is especially notorious for its negative effects on skin. Even extreme heat may be to blame for some forms of eczema.

Eczema and allergies are closely related. Hay fever, asthma, and allergies are all present on the same gene. Because of this, many of the things that trigger an allergic reaction can also cause eczema and contribute to the irritating symptoms associated with the condition.

There are treatments available that can help to relieve or significantly reduce the symptoms associated with eczema. There is no need to continue to suffer with the symptoms.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130