The below articles were written by Dr. Frank Litchenberger, MD, PhD. Dr. Frank is a practicing allergist and Medical Director at the Eczema Relief Store.

What Does Eczema Look Like?

Wondering what that itchy red rash is? Eczema is a group of skin conditions that cause skin irritation and a rash-like appearance. The condition can develop in anyone — it affects more than 30 million Americans of all ages — but what it looks like can differ depending on the type of eczema and the person’s skin color.

What is Dermatitis?

It can be confusing when one person calls what you have “dermatitis” and another calls it “eczema.” These two terms are used interchangeably to describe a group of skin conditions that produce inflammation and rashes.

Dermatitis is the general state of skin inflammation, but there are several types, each of which can cause a variety of troublesome symptoms.

What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Each of the six types of eczema appears differently, but most people associate eczema with the symptoms of AD. People with AD develop itchy, scaly patches when their skin overreacts to a perceived threat. External substances — something your skin came into contact with — or internal factors — like hormones, stress or food allergies — can cause this inflammatory skin response.

How to Prevent Staph Infections When You Have Eczema

When you have eczema, you’re at high risk for developing skin infections. The most common, and potentially serious, is an infection by bacteria called staphylococcus aureus (staph). These bacteria are found on 90 percent of people with moderate-to-severe eczema and are one of the factors that make those with eczema more likely to get an infection.

MRSA and Eczema

Skin is a barrier that keeps germs out of the body. When that protective barrier is broken or damaged, its ability to prevent bacteria and viruses from taking root is compromised. During an eczema flare, inflamed and irritated skin and open sores provide entry points for bacteria that are lurking on the surface, waiting for the right opportunity.

What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Dr. Frank Litchenberger, MD, PhD and Practicing Allergist explains this condition. Seborrheic dermatitis is a form of eczema that develops on oil-producing areas of the body, such as the scalp. It can range in severity from mild flaking (similar to dandruff) to thickened, crusty patches on the trunk of the body.

What Is Dyshidrotic Eczema (Pompholyx)?

Dyshidrotic eczema produces a rash of tiny, fluid-filled blisters on the palms of your hands, sides of your fingers or soles of your feet. It’s extremely itchy and sometimes painful. Over the course of two to three weeks, the blisters dry out and skin cracks. When your skin peels off, the fresh skin underneath can be red and tender. Dyshidrotic eczema is not contagious.

How Is Triamcinolone Used to Treat Eczema?

Triamcinolone calms an overactive immune response and lowers levels of inflammation in the skin, two factors involved with eczema flare-ups. This stops the damaging effects of inflammation and lets your skin heal.

A New Eczema Treatment: What You Need to Know About Eucrisa

For those who’ve battled eczema flares for years, there’s a new medication available, and it looks promising. Eucrisa (crisaborole) is an ointment you apply to skin, but unlike commonly prescribed steroid creams, it has few side effects.

Breast-feeding and food allergen exposure

Food allergy is a major driving factor in the development of pediatric atopic dermatitis/eczema. It has been puzzling that some infants who are exclusively breast-fed can develop food allergen-driven atopic dermatitis/eczema prior to the expansion of their diet.

Probiotics and Allergic Skin (Eczema)

While agricultural science has appreciated this necessary relationship with bacteria for 70 years, modern medicine has only recently noted that humans have a symbiotic relationship with gut bacteria, and the role (quantity/quality/composition) this gut bacteria plays in our health.

Plant Based Alternative Treatments for Eczema

Many of my patients, and many of the participants in the AD RescueWear Facebook discussions have tried or have been using plant based oils, essential oils, and many other supplements to complement their atopic dermatitis (eczema) treatment plans.

Steroids and Eczema - Can it Make Your Eczema Worse?

Despite regular use of topical steroids, some patient's eczema seems to get progressively worse over time, and require significantly increased amounts of steroids. This can advance to the point where people will even need oral steroids on a recurring basis to keep symptoms in check.

A Comparison of Methotrexate and Cyclosporine to Treat Eczema

Both medications lower the body's ability to fight off infection, and can have significant side effects. Cyclosporine is specific to T-cells, which help it fight the body's "Th1 inflammation," which makes it an effective therapy for chronic atopic dermatitis.

Tencel® - The Perfect Fabric for Atopic Dermatitis/Eczema

Tencel® fabric absorbs moisture without developing bacterial biofilms which tend to develop with other fabrics such as cotton, but especially synthetic fibers (polyester, etc.).

Getting rest at night with eczema - tips from Frank Litchenberger, MD, PhD 

In atopic dermatitis, sleep disruption correlates with disease severity, as well as behavioral manifestations. However, only in the past few years have studies been published which show how tightly entwined high-quality sleep is to skin health.

How does gut bacteria and your microbiome correlate with eczema?

Kefir and yogurt are great natural sources of probiotics but there is significant overlap with dairy product allergies and allergic conditions such as eczema. For my patients, I will typically suggest lactobacillus case (probiotic) which is available with and without a prescription and does a great job both surviving the stomach acid and repopulating the gut.

Seasonal Allergies (Pollen) and Eczema

Indoor allergies such as dust mite and animal dander, as well as food allergies are well established as triggers of atopic dermatitis/eczema. However, there is a debate in the allergy community as to the impact of environmental allergies (pollen) as they play a role in the development eczema. Several studies have been published in the last 2 years that suggest that people with eczema and seasonal allergies, may get worse during allergy season.

Dairy, Milk and the Risk of Asthma

When I graduated from medical school a little over a decade ago, we knew that eating the wrong foods led to chronic medical problems like obesity and hypertension. However, recent research is supporting the concept that certain types of food can prevent or treat other conditions, especially allergic conditions like atopic dermatitis and asthma – this report dealt with asthma.

Who Outgrows Eczema?

So much of the time I won't have a specific answer, but I'm confident that with a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and care, that not only do we give our patients the best chance of outgrowing the condition, we also minimize the impact on their quality of life as they grow out of it. 


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