Treat the Chronic Dryness, Itching, and Rashes of Dermatitis in Tampa Bay's St. Petersburg and South Pasadena
There are many things that can irritate the skin, causing it to become dry, red, and itchy for a short while. When the problem is persistent, however, the condition is known as dermatitis or eczema. Tampa Bay's Nelson Dermatology welcomes patients from St. Pete Beach, St. Petersburg, and beyond, who want relief from the chronic condition. Although there is no cure, there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms.
Eczema is exceedingly common, with an estimated 31 million Americans of all demographics dealing with the disease in some form. Our board-certified dermatologists are experienced in diagnosis the condition and bringing relief to women, men, teens, and children frustrated by persistent itching, dryness, and irritation of their skin.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema or dermatitis is actually the catchall name for many different conditions that result in inflamed skin and an itchy rash. Unlike a reaction that flares up and then resolves quickly or in a relatively short amount of time, dermatitis is persistent. The duration and severity of flare-ups sometimes prompts sufferers to scratch so frequently and deeply that they bleed and create conditions that allow additional skin infections to develop.
Symptoms can develop anywhere on the body. Different subtypes of dermatitis tend to develop in different parts of the body. Overall, though, the hands, face, and lower extremities are the most common locations.
The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which can develop in babies and persist well into adulthood. These patients tend to also have seasonal allergies or asthma as well. Patients with severe atopic dermatitis can scratch and irritate the skin so much that their skin ultimately becomes hard and thickened.
Other types of eczema include contact dermatitis, where patients develop irritation of the skin after exposure to something in the environment (such as poison ivy) or to medications (such as Neosporin).
Seborrheic dermatitis appears as a greasy, yellow, dandruff-like eruption often seen on the face and central chest.
Stasis dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that often appears on the swollen legs of older patients.
Dyshidrotic eczema presents with small itchy blisters, often on the sides of the fingers. Other, less common forms of eczema include nummular dermatitis and neurodermatitis.
What Causes Eczema?
As with rosacea, the medical dermatology community is not entirely sure what the underlying cause of eczema is. Research indicates a likely genetic component, with sufferers making insufficient amounts of a protein necessary for skin to properly serve as a barrier against dehydration and infection. Eczema patients are also likely to be prone to severe immune reactions in response to irritants. The resulting inflammation causes redness and moderate to severe itchiness.
There is no cure for the condition, but there are many known potential triggers. Patients can work with the Nelson Dermatology team to identify their personal triggers and minimize or avoid them as much as possible to keep flare-ups in check. The most common known triggers are skin dryness (due to excessive washing, weather changes, and other factors), smoke and other pollutants, cosmetics and fragrances, wool and other materials, certain soaps and cleaning products, and nickel. Formaldehyde and other chemicals are also irritants known to cause flare-ups.
What Eczema Treatment is Available at Tampa Bay's Nelson Dermatology?
In addition to identifying triggers, we can target the inflammation to reduce or do away with the dry, itchy feeling associated with dermatitis. Topical medications to calm the painful sensations, restore moisture, and improve the skin's barrier function—including great moisturizers—are effective. Topical steroids and other emollients can be added to help control your eczema. Oral medications to reduce inflammation can also be prescribed.
At Nelson Dermatology, we also specialize in newer, cutting-edge treatments, such as a biologic known as Dupixent (dupilumab). The FDA-approved medication can bring relief to atopic dermatitis patients 12 and older for whom topical strategies are not working.
While there is no magic cure for eczema, there is a great first step: an initial consultation with our board-certified dermatologists. We can assess your unique symptoms and develop a plan that makes sense for your lifestyle and goals.