Atopic Dermatitis usually occurs in individuals who have a personal or family history of Atopy or Atopic Diseases, such as hay fever, asthma, eczema, hives, bee sting allergy, latex sensitivity, food allergy, multiple medication allergy, etc. In infancy atopic dermatitis may be precipitated by food allergy and can affect generalized areas of the face, torso, and extremities. Later in childhood the eczema may be localized to the face or flexor creases of the arms and legs. Some patients “outgrow” their eczema while in others it is a lifelong, incurable, but usually controllable condition.
Contact Dermatitis usually results from a chemical irritant, eg. excess exposure to soap and water, or a substance which produces a true allergic reaction, such as the nickel in earrings or fragrances. Poison ivy grows along many Montana rivers and is a common cause of severe allergic contact dermatitis in the summer. Occasionally patch testing is performed to identify the source of allergic contact dermatitis.
Dyshidrotic eczema often presents as intensely itchy blisters between the fingers or toes. In many patients stress is a precipitating factor.
Neurodermatitis is caused by an itch-scratch-cycle involving localized areas of the skin, such as the nape of the neck, arms, or legs.
Nummular dermatitis literally means “coin-like” patches of rash in a generalized distribution. Although dry skin is a common cause, occasionally “internal diseases” can be associated with this type of eczema.
This is an itchy condition characterized by redness and scaling of the scalp, ear canals, central face skin, eye lashes, or chest. It probably represents a “sensitivity” to a normal yeast found on all human’s skin. It is made worse by stress or neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease or stroke. Seborrhea is a chronic and incurable condition but it can be controlled with medicated shampoos, cortisone salves, or antifungal medications.
Stasis dermatitis occurs from poor circulation in the lower extremities. Red or brown scaly and itchy areas develop on the shins and ankles. In people with varicose veins chronic leg ulcers can develop.
Generally speaking the various types of eczema can be controlled with topical cortisone creams plus emollients. Rarely expensive immunomodulators such as Protopic or Elidel are needed to control difficult cases of eczema.