Name That Itch!
Winter months can bring on the itch as cold weather and indoor heat dry out the skin. For some people itchy, dry skin is something more: a symptom of atopic dermatitis (eczema), contact dermatitis, or hives. Skin testing by an allergy expert is the best route to long-term skin solutions, but Brian Rotskoff, MD, offers up these general guidelines for understanding your skin condition.
What is contact dermatitis?
• A chronic rash that occurs as the result of physical contact with an allergen
• Typically an allergy to metals, fragrances, plants, and cosmetics/perfumes
What is atopic dermatitis (eczema)?
• A more persistent type of eczema
• Chronic rash that appears on the limbs, scalp, neck, and cheeks
• Aggravated by environmental allergens and food allergens, as well as stress and heat
• Most common in children, with onset around age five
• Often outgrown by adolescence
What is hives (urticaria)?
• A rash that migrates from one area of the body to another within hours
• Can be short-term or chronic
• Sometimes accompanied by swelling, wheezing, and shortness of breath
• Can be spontaneous or autoimmune
• More complex to diagnose because may or may not be allergen-based