Dr. Hina Altaf Dermatologist



Atopic eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a common condition, especially seen in children, and can have a prolonged course. The most common symptoms of eczema include dry, itchy, red, and scaly patches of skin. These patches can appear on any part of the body, but are most commonly found in the body folds; can also be seen on the hands, face, and feet. 

The exact cause of eczema is not fully understood, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

Factors that may influence it include:

  • An immune system which responds in an unusual exaggerated manner
  • Problems in your skin’s barrier that let moisture out and germs in
  • A family history of other allergies or asthma
  • Environmental factors such as irritants, allergens, and changes in temperature and humidity can trigger or worsen symptoms.


Treatment for eczema typically involves a combination of topical medications, such as creams and ointments, and lifestyle changes. Topical medications are used to reduce inflammation and relieve itching, and may include corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, and topical antibiotics.

In addition to topical medications, lifestyle changes such as avoiding triggers and maintaining good skin hygiene are also important for managing eczema. 

Avoiding irritants such as harsh soaps and detergents, as well as allergens such as dust mites and pet dander, can help prevent flare-ups. Moisturizing regularly with fragrance-free creams or ointments can also help keep skin hydrated and prevent itching.

In some cases, oral medications such as antihistamines or corticosteroids may be prescribed to manage more severe symptoms. For people with eczema that is resistant to other treatments, phototherapy or systemic medications such as cyclosporine may be recommended.

Biological therapy is also available for severe eczema which improves the quality of life significantly. 

Eczema Flare-up Prevention

A few tips can help you prevent outbreaks or keep them from getting worse:

  • Moisturize your skin often.
  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity.
  • Manage stress, and take time for yourself to relax. Get regular exercise. It can help to control stress and increase circulation.
  • Avoid scratchy materials such as wool.
  • Don’t use harsh soaps, detergents, or solvents.
  • Pay attention to foods that might trigger symptoms and try to avoid them.
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom.
  • If your baby is more likely to have eczema because of a family history, it’s best to breastfeed them exclusively for the first 3 months of life, or longer if possible. Doctors advise continuing breast milk for at least up to 6 months (preferably 1 year) as you introduce your baby to solid food. Babies should also be protected from such potential allergens as pet hair, mites, and molds.


Living with eczema can be challenging, but with the right treatment and lifestyle modifications, many people with eczema are able to manage their symptoms effectively and live a normal life. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan for managing eczema.

Common household items that can cause an eczema flare

Along with having a family history of eczema, many common household items are also potential environmental irritants and can cause allergic reactions leading to an eczema flare. Additional common triggers of allergies may include:

  • Certain types of soaps, shampoos, bubble bath products, body wash, and facial cleansers
  • laundry detergents and fabric softeners with chemical additives
  • certain fabrics like wool or polyester in clothing and sheets
  • surface cleaners and disinfectants
  • natural liquids like the juice from fruit, vegetables and meats
  • fragrances in candles
  • metals, especially nickel, in jewelry or utensils
  • formaldehyde, which is found in household disinfectants, some vaccines, glues and adhesives
  • isothiazolinone, an antibacterial found in personal care products like baby wipes
  • cocamidopropyl betaine, which is used to thicken shampoos and lotions
  • paraphenylene-diamine, which is used in leather dyes and temporary tattoos
  • dust mites and living in dirty spaces

Minimal Downtime

You can return to your daily routine immediately after

Immediate Results

Results within 24 to 48 hours, with full results in 30 days

Painless Procedure

Brief period of discomfort during the injection, similar to a pinch

Results That Last

Effects typically last for several months

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and red patches of skin. It often occurs in individuals with a family history of allergies or asthma and can be triggered by environmental factors, irritants, or allergens.
Eczema triggers can vary from person to person, but common triggers include irritants such as harsh soaps, detergents, and fragrances, dry skin, allergens like pollen or pet dander, temperature changes, stress, and certain foods. Identifying and avoiding triggers can help in managing and preventing eczema flare-ups.
To manage eczema symptoms, it's important to keep the skin moisturized using fragrance-free moisturizers or emollients. Avoiding long, hot showers and using mild, non-irritating soaps or cleansers can help prevent further drying of the skin. Applying prescribed topical corticosteroids or immunomodulators as directed by a healthcare professional can also help reduce inflammation and itching.
Food allergies or sensitivities can contribute to eczema flare-ups in some individuals, especially in children. Common food triggers include cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, and fish. If you suspect a food allergy is worsening your eczema, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or allergist who can conduct allergy testing and guide you on an appropriate elimination diet if necessary.
Yes, stress can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms in some individuals. When you're stressed, your body releases certain chemicals that can negatively impact the immune system and increase inflammation, potentially leading to eczema flare-ups. It's important to identify and manage stress in your life through relaxation techniques, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional. Stress management can be an important aspect of overall eczema management.

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Dr. Hinah Altaf’s clinic is currently at Gargash Hospital, 145 Umm Suqeim Street – Umm Al Sheif -Dubai.