Causes & Symptoms

Skin Conditions

Find out more about common and rare skin conditions, the causes and symptoms and how we can help you treat these conditions

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Causes & Symptoms

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a common skin condition that can affect children and adults. Eczema can cause red and dry skin which can lead to very irritating, itchy skin. Unfortunately there is no cure for this skin condition; however there are treatments and ways to manage it. At The Skin Hospital, our experienced doctors are able to create a personalised treatment plan in order to help deal with your specific eczema condition.

There are many things that can make your condition worse, including:

  • Dry Skin
  • Scratching
  • Chemicals – e.g. from swimming pool, preservatives, soaps, perfumes
  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Contact with some types of grass or carpet
  • Allergens such as pollen
  • Woollen or synthetic fibres
  • Heat
  • Stress

Different types of Eczema

There are a number of different types of eczema, some of which are caused by factors within the body and others caused by triggers from outside the body.  These different types are:

Atopic Eczema

  • This is the most common form and can usually be linked with other medical conditions such as hay fever and asthma. This condition usually runs in the family.
  • Often individuals find that their skin is very sensitive to materials such as wool, soaps and perfumes and avoiding these products can improve symptoms.
  • Atopic Eczema relates to the individual losing their skin barrier, which can lead to the skin losing moisture, resulting in dry and itchy skin. This also means that microbes and other immune system stimulants can get in.
  • This can lead to inflammation in the skin, which is seen in the skin as redness and itchiness.

Contact eczema- irritant and allergic contact eczema.

  • These types of eczema occur when a stimulus from outside the body causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed.
  • A common cause of contact eczema is occupational exposure, for example, healthcare workers washing their hands frequently with soaps or beauticians and hairdressers working with chemicals in products such as nail polish and hair dyes.
  • Exposure can occur in any part of life. Contact dermatitis can affect any part of the body, but the hands and face are the most commonly affected areas.

Treatment at The Skin Hospital

As there is no cure for atopic dermatitis, treatment focuses on reducing symptoms and preventing flare-ups. Treatment can include:

  • Reducing exposure to triggers where possible
  • Regular emollients (moisturisers)
  • Use of topical steroids (under doctors advice)
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Phototherapy
  • Oral corticosteroids

In severe cases of eczema, immunosuppressive agents may be used, such as:

  • Methotrexate
  • Ciclosporin
  • Azathioprine

We highly recommend you book a consultation at The Skin Hospital. Our highly trained dermatologists will be able to diagnose the specific eczema problem you are suffering from, as well as the most suitable treatment

The Skin Hospital runs a speciality clinic at Darlinghurst and Westmead, dedicated to the treatment of eczema. If you would like to find out more about this speciality clinic please contact us. The following doctors specialise in the treatment of eczema:

Dr Ebrahim Abdulla
Dr Kate Dunlop
Dr Monisha Gupta

Further Information

Further useful information from trusted sources on eczema in general can be found at:

Dermatitis – DermNet NZ

The following support groups may be of interest to patients and families of those suffering with atopic eczema:

Eczema In Kids 

Eczema Association of Australasia 

Find a Specialist

All our dermatologists are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis). Click on the link below to find a dermatologist who can help you with your skin condition.

General Dermatology