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When it comes to skin infections, eczema is one of the most common conditions. So much so that in the United States, more than 30 million people are diagnosed with eczema. Plus, most cases of eczema develop during one’s childhood. However, there are certain cases where an adult might find themselves fighting against eczema-like symptoms later in life. But is that even possible? Most of our patients wonder if they can get eczema later in life as a fully grown adult, and the answer to that is yes. While it is often associated with childhood, eczema can show up when you’re an adult, surprising you. To learn more about it, make sure to keep reading this blog.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that is commonly known as atopic dermatitis. It affects your skin from deep within, causing the skin to get inflamed, itchy, dry, and irritated. Usually, eczema shows up in the form of red, dry, and scaly patches, littering the outer layer of the skin. However, depending on the seriousness of the condition, the size and severity of the patches may differ from person to person. Moreover, eczema commonly attacks your face, hands, legs, chest, stomach, elbows, and back. This can cause a lot of discomfort, which is why prompt evaluation by a dermatologist is necessary.

What Causes Eczema?

So far, there is little to no research on the exact cause of eczema. However, it is linked to a variety of genetic and environmental factors. People who have family members with eczema, asthma, or hay fever are more likely to develop the condition through genetics. But in the case of environmental triggers, basic allergens, abrasive soaps, stress, and even changes in weather can worsen the symptoms.

Can You Get Eczema Later In Life?

Believe it or not, yes! It is totally possible for you to develop eczema later in life, even if you have never experienced its symptoms before. Most people think that eczema is developed during childhood, and while that may be true, adult-onset eczema can occur for various reasons. For instance, changes in hormone levels, immune system, or sudden exposure to new allergens and irritants can trigger eczema flare-ups in adulthood. Additionally, individuals with pre-existing skin conditions like rosacea or psoriasis have a higher risk of developing eczema over time.

Can Eczema Be Treated?

Since there is no determined cause for eczema, a cure doesn’t exist either. However, there are several treatment options to help manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups. Take a look below to see a handful of treatment methods that Dr. Sharaf Diwan, a board-certified M.D., would typically recommend.

  1. Topical Steroids
    Prescription or over-the-counter corticosteroid creams or ointments can help alleviate inflammation and itchiness during flare-ups.
  2. Moisturizers
    Regularly moisturizing the skin with fragrance-free and hypoallergenic lotions or creams can help prevent dryness and maintain the skin’s natural barrier.
  3. Antihistamines
    Oral antihistamines can help relieve itching and discomfort associated with eczema, especially at night when symptoms tend to worsen.
  4. Prevention Methods
    Identifying and avoiding triggers such as certain foods, fabrics, or skincare products can also help prevent eczema flare-ups.
  5. Prescribed Medications
    In severe cases, dermatologists prescribe oral medications to control inflammation and reduce symptoms.
  6. Phototherapy
    Light therapy, under the guidance of a dermatologist, involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light to reduce inflammation and itchiness.

Bottom Line

All in all, eczema is a common skin condition that can affect individuals of all ages, including adults, who may develop it later in life. However, if you have trouble identifying the symptoms, feel free to get in touch and schedule an appointment with Sharaf Diwan, MD, at (832) 604-0005 for an in-depth evaluation and assessment.

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