Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a chronic, itchy inflammatory skin condition. It includes atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. With treatment, eczema can be controlled.
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Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
The dermatologists at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center specialize in the treatment of eczema. The department handles more than 40,000 patient visits every year, and offers evening clinic hours as well as an innovative open access clinic for acute situations.
As one of the highest-ranked clinics for patient satisfaction within Hershey Medical Center, the department is also nationally recognized, with many of our providers listed in the Best Doctors in America national database.
The two main types of eczema are:
- Atopic dermatitis: Predominately a disease of childhood, although adults may continue to have patches of eczema on the hands, feet, and elsewhere
- Contact dermatitis: Caused by exposure to irritating or allergenic chemicals contacting the skin
At your first visit, the dermatologist will look at your skin and perform a physical exam. You may need a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Allergy skin testing may also be helpful for people with hard-to treat atopic dermatitis, other allergy symptoms, or rashes that appear only on certain areas of the body after exposure to specific irritants.
Treatment of eczema is aimed at reducing itching and inflammation of the skin.
We often start with several non-prescription courses of treatment, such as:
- Avoiding irritants, like harsh soap, wool clothes, irritating chemicals, and an uncomfortable climate. Washing of the skin should be done with warm water using a mild soap such as Dove, Oil of Olay Sensitive Skin, or Cetaphil.
- Moisturizing liberally and frequently, particularly after bathing. Moisturizers to try include Cetaphil, Lubriderm, Neutrogena, CeraVe Cream, and plain petroleum jelly.
- Taking a soothing bath, which includes oatmeal (Aveeno) or tar (Cutar), which are sometimes used for their soothing effect on the skin.
- Taking an antihistamine, which can reduce itching.
Prescription medications can also help to treat eczema.
- Steroids are sometimes prescribed. These should be used cautiously since topical steroids can cause thinning of the skin.
- Protopic and Elidel are anti-inflammatory agents which are not steroids, and are considered safe.
- Antibiotics are used when the skin is infected as a result of issues from eczema.
Additionally, ultraviolet light can be used to reduce inflammation and itching.
Departments at Hershey Medical Center offering treatment for eczema include:
Penn State Dermatology
200 Campus Drive
Entrance 3, Suite 100
Hershey, PA 17033
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Penn State Medical Group Camp Hill
3025 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011
Hours: Monday–Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Penn State Medical Group Colonnade
32 Colonnade Way
State College, PA 16803
Hours: Monday–Friday, 7:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Penn State Medical Group Mount Joy
201 Lefever Road
Mount Joy, PA 17552
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Penn State Medical Group Nyes Road
121 Nyes Road, Suite C
Harrisburg , PA 17112
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Penn State Medical Group Palmyra
941 Park Drive
Palmyra, PA 17078
Hours: Monday, 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Tuesday, 6:40 a.m.-5:00 p.m;, Wednesday, 6:40 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Thursday, 6:40 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Friday, 6:40 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
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