What is eczema?

Eczema is a term used to describe conditions that cause the skin to become itchy, inflamed, or have a rash-like appearance. Your healthcare provider may sometimes refer to your eczema as ‘atopic dermatitis’. It’s a chronic condition that’s caused by an imbalance in part of your immune system. This leads to inflammation below and above the surface of the skin, which causes the symptoms of eczema—something you are likely familiar with.

Eczema symptoms can include:

  • Itch
  • Dry skin
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Rough or scaly patches of skin

Common body parts affected:

Eczema commonly appears in areas where the skin folds and creases.

Hands and wrists


Inner elbows


Back of knees

Around the eyes



It can be frustrating to hear that your adolescent child will just “grow out of it” when you’re actively working to help them find relief. The truth is, while many younger people do see an improvement in their eczema as they age, it is a chronic condition, and there are many that experience eczema into adulthood. That’s why it may be important to find a treatment option for people ages 12 and older.


So, what causes eczema?

We learned that beneath the surface of the skin, eczema can occur when part of the immune system is imbalanced, which causes too much inflammation in the body. But there are other factors that may contribute to eczema symptoms and flare-ups.

Eczema triggers

While everyone’s experience with eczema is different, there are some common triggers that may cause eczema symptoms:

  • Irritants (i.e. soaps and cleaners, fragrances, fabrics)
  • Cold and dry weather
  • Stress
  • Food allergies

If you find that any of these triggers worsen your symptoms, consider avoiding them when you can.


Studies have shown that the risk of developing eczema as a child is two to three times higher when one parent has the condition. Researchers have also found possible correlations between eczema and several different genes. People living with eczema also commonly develop food and seasonal allergies, hay fever, and asthma.

The itch-scratch cycle

Eczema is caused by inflammation beneath the skin, resulting in some major itching. It’s called the itch-scratch cycle–when you scratch the itch, it causes more inflammation and therefore more rash, itching, and scratching. This cycle often repeats and may worsen without treatment.

Learn how OPZELURA can help

It’s important to understand how eczema impacts your loved one. Be sure to complete the Eczema Eight with them before their next appointment.