Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a long-term and recurrent condition that causes dry, itchy, red skin. It can affect different parts of the body at different times and in varying degrees. The itching, redness, and inflammation make it difficult to sleep or wear certain types of clothing. It can be uncomfortable to scratch but make you feel like scratching even more.

Symptoms Of Eczema (Dermatitis)

Itchy skin is almost always a symptom of eczema. Other symptoms of eczema may include:

  • Dryness

    Eczema can make your skin very dry, sensitive, and prone to cracking.

  • Rough And Leathery Skin

    Constant scratching can lead to rough, thickened skin.

  • Oozing And Crusting Blisters

    Blisters that ooze and crust can form in areas where the skin bends (inside your elbow, behind your knees, or on the front of your neck).

  • Inflamed And Discolored Skin

    It may appear as a red rash or scaly patches on swollen skin that vary in color depending on your skin color.

Eczema (Dermatitis) Triggers

Each individual has their own specific triggers for eczema. Knowing and avoiding the factors that cause flare-ups is important in eczema management.

  • Dry skin
  • Bathing products
  • Cold environment
  • High humidity
  • Creams or lotions
  • Metals
  • Cleaning products
  • Allergens
  • Animal dander
  • Stress
  • Sweat

Persistent Itching and Constant Flare-ups?

Our MOH-accredited dermatologist will conduct a detailed evaluation and recommend a personalised treatment plan for you. Manage your triggers, and reduce the severity of your symptoms today.

Complications Of Eczema (Dermatitis)

Because eczema is a life-long and recurrent illness, it can lead to various physical and psychological problems, especially if left untreated.

  • Skin discoloration

    Even after the rashes have healed, the affected areas of the skin can develop patches that are either lighter or darker than your skin color.

  • Thick, scaly skin

    Eczema can be very itchy and because of repeated scratching, the skin thickens and becomes leathery.

  • Skin infections

    Scratching can cause open wounds in your skin which can be infected by bacteria and viruses.

  • Sleep problems

    Intense itchiness can cause people with eczema to have interrupted sleep.

  • Mental health issues

    The discomfort, as well as the appearance of the rashes of eczema, can cause some people to develop depression and anxiety.

Dr Noor Hanif Said

Medical Director & Consultant Dermatologist

Over 20 years of experience
in medical, Surgical & aesthetic Dermatology

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, Singapore)
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP, United Kingdom)
  • Fellow Of The Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS, Dermatology)

Prior to starting his private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Dr Hanif was a dermatologist at the National Skin Centre and a Visiting Consultant with the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Dermatology Service.

Apart from his expertise in the management of general dermatological problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hair loss and acne, he has special interests in pigmentary disorders and aesthetic dermatology.

Treatment Options For Eczema (Dermatitis)

Once you’ve been diagnosed with eczema, your doctor will likely recommend a combination of treatments. Here are some of the most common treatment options:

  • Steroid-containing creams or ointments

    These are applied topically to relieve itching and inflammation. They are available in different strengths or “potency”. A dermatologist will prescribe which steroid will best suit you.

  • Emollients

    Emollients are medical moisturizers that come in different forms– creams, lotions, ointments, gels, and sprays. This type of product helps soothe dry, flaky skin and can also reduce the itch.

  • Antihistamines

    Both oral and topical forms can be used to help relieve itchiness.

  • Phototherapy

    This involves exposing the skin to controlled amounts of natural or artificial light to help reduce symptoms.

  • Immunosuppressants

    Immunosuppressants are drugs that help lower the activity of the immune system and are typically only used in severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is eczema contagious?

    No, eczema isn’t contagious. You can still perform your daily and regular interactions with other people.

    What types of food can trigger eczema?

    Peanuts, milk, soy products, wheat, seafood, and eggs are the most common food triggers for eczema. Avoiding these foods help prevent eczema flare-ups in some people.

    Is there a cure for atopic eczema?

    Managing eczema is a combination of medical management and self-care. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition and symptoms can recur anytime. But, following your dermatologist’s treatment plan and lifestyle advice can significantly improve your symptoms and prevent flare-ups from recurring frequently.