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Eczema, or dermatitis, is a common skin condition which causes inflamed, red, scaly and itchy skin. Acute eczema is characterised by an aggressive red rash and chronic eczema is usually a longstanding irritable area in which the skin has darkened and thickened, often as a result of scratching.

Who does it affect?  

Eczema tends to run in families and affects about one in five people of any age. Eczema can often accompany other atopic disorders such as asthma and hay fever.

What are the symptoms?

Eczema can be acute or chronic and some people may present with both. It is characterised by dry, inflamed and itchy skin. The colouring of eczema can vary from bright red to brown. While dermatitis is not contagious, any associated infection can spread to others.

What causes it?

Eczema comes in a variety of forms and patterns depending on the trigger. Common triggers for irritant contact dermatitis include detergents, chemicals or friction. Allergic contact dermatitis can be provoked by nickel, perfume and preservatives. There are several other forms of dermatitis with a variety of different causes including stress. Our dermatologists can help you investigate triggers or aggravating factors to manage and prevent further flares.

How is it treated?

While there is no cure for eczema, symptoms can be managed. Avoiding and tackling triggers, and treating flares early are important for effective control. There are often several triggers contributing to a flare, and each needs to be identified for management. In the last five years there have been promising results from a series of new medications for the effective treatment of eczema.

In a small proportion of children, food allergy can be a relevant trigger for eczema, but it is rarely the primary trigger for flares. Unless a child has a life-threatening allergy, it is important not to introduce a significantly restricted diet without proper assessment and dietary guidance. Our team will work together to find the best result for your child.

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