Eczema

Q.What is the difference between eczema and psoriasis?

A.Both conditions can itch and present as red scaling plaques on the skin. Psoriasis is a skin condition where the skin cells divide and multiply at an accelerated rate. Eczema is a skin sensitivity condition where the skin is easily irritated usually by external stimuli. Both conditions are influenced by internal stress and emotions. Also, both conditions have a genetic predisposition in that they are passed along in families. They are controlled but not cured.

Q.My granddaughter has fairly mild eczema, and scratches all the time. This does not endear her to her school friends! However her mother will not use the cortisone cream prescribed by her doctor as she is convinced the cure is worse than the complaint. I wonder if you could recommend something and also explain the benefits versus side effects so that she could make a more informed decision.

A.Cortisone is not the only treatment for eczema. The concern about cortisone depends on the strength, frequency, location and duration of use. Only your doctor can tell you the risk. There are new prescription non-cortisone creams (Protopic in USA) that are very effective in controlling eczema. Daily moisturizing creams and watching water exposure are essential for people with eczema. Remember, eczema is a sensitive skin condition.


Q.My 4 year old daughter has eczema. I would like to know which lotion to use for her eczema.

A.Eczema is a sensitive skin condition. The concept with moisturizing creams is that they "seal" and protect the skin. Pick a moisturizing cream (not lotion or oil) and use this religiously. The cream should be something that you like and not a specific name brand. This will help prevent eczema flares.


Q.My daughter has eczema. Her pediatrician suggested cortisone creams. I am afraid of the long term effects as my daughter is only five. She itches on a daily basis - can you help?

A.Eczema is a skin sensitivity condition that tends to wax and wane depending on internal and external factors. (See YourSkinDoctor.com write-up on Eczema.) Basically, this condition is controlled through puberty. Most of the time this resolves during adolescence. Treatment is conservative and should address exacerbating factors. In some children emotions play a key role. Mild cortisone creams can be used under the supervision of a physician. Usually, over-the-counter cortisone creams pose no threat with long term use. The stronger cortisone creams are absorbed and can thin the skin with overuse. If conservative treatments are ineffective, there is a new prescription medication on the market called Protopic. This is not a steroid and is very effective for this condition. See your dermatologist.


Q.Can you develop eczema from fake jewelry? I wore a fake necklace and developed a rash. Now there is a dark spot that won't go away.

A.No, you cannot develop or acquire eczema from irritation to the skin. Eczema is a skin sensitivity condition that can be exacerbated. Usually, if you can isolate a cause, such as fake jewelry, it suggests more of a contact sensitivity than anything else. Stop the irritation by wearing the real stuff. Over-the -counter cortisone cream (such as YSD's Soothing Cream with Aloe) helps irritation. As far as dark areas, these should fade with time - assuming that you stop irritating it