Eczema is a general term. Dermatologists use it to describe skin conditions that can cause the skin to swell and discolor. The skin is often dry and itchy.

The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. When people say “eczema,” this is often what they mean.

If your dermatologist diagnoses you with eczema, he or she may use the word “dermatitis.” The words “eczema” and “dermatitis” often mean the same thing.

Treatment

  • Prevent the condition from getting worse
  • Calm the skin, relieving pain and itch
  • Prevent infections
  • Stop the skin from thickening.
  • A treatment plan often includes medicine, skin care, and lifestyle changes. Skin care and lifestyle changes can help prevent flare-ups. Many patients receive tips for coping. Doing all of this may seem bothersome, but sticking to the plan can make a big difference.

A dermatologist will create a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs. Medicine and other therapies will be prescribed as needed to:

  • Control itching
  • Reduce skin inflammation (redness and swelling)
  • Clear infection
  • Loosen and remove scaly lesions
  • Reduce new lesions from forming