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How do the different seasons affect eczema? 

Well, typically eczema flares and cold dry weather, which is winter season. In a lot of young, healthy, active adults, sweaty, hot summer days can make their eczema worse as well, especially hand eczema.

I think it’s also really important to talk about pigmentation in skin of color. Specifically with regards to eczema. Once the eczema is gone, it can leave dark or light spots that can be equally as distressing for patients as the eczema itself. So treatment options to consider especially when it’s warm or hot outside with a lot of sun exposure is wearing sunscreen that allows dark spots to fade.

For patients of color I think it’s also important to add that if you have eczema that affects the scalp, you don’t have to wash your hair everyday. That can make your hair fall out especially in black that curly hair like my hair. You can use products like topical steroids that can help calm down the inflammation.

Is eczema linked to any other illnesses?

It certainly can be. There’s a classic pattern where people can have genetic eczema, asthma and allergies. Those three things are called the atopic triad, it has a name to it. I’ve always let my patients know that if someone has eczema in their family, then they may be prone to allergies, and asthma.

It’s not caused by one specific thing. It’s not linked to one specific illness.

We think that it may be due to the same pathways and different organ systems. So you know, our body is just one organ system. So we’ve got our skin which is the largest organ system of the body. Then we’ve got our lungs, which is a separate system, and we’ve got the sinuses. We think it’s the same thing happening but just in a different organ system.

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Histamine is a big factor. Histamine is the chemical that makes your nose itch and your eyes water and your skin itch. So it seems to be a common factor among all those things. Over the counter antihistamines can be helpful for eczema, it can help relieve that itching sensation versus the scratching which can destroy the skin barrier and cause more problems.