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"Do I have eczema?"

ZocdocAnswersDo I have eczema?


Around my knee caps the skin is dry and flaky. It also itches, especially when I'm trying to go to sleep at night. Is this eczema or do I just have some dry skin? I've been putting lotion on at night but it really isn't helping that much.


Eczema is certainly a possibility here. This is basically a condition in which the skin lacks essential substances which help keep it moisturized, leading to drying, cracking, flaking, and itching. The condition is very common and it tends to be chronic, waxing and waning over many years. It tends to be made worse by stress, by changes in the weather, and by exposure to certain irritating chemicals. Your doctor would be able to take a look at your skin and confirm whether or not this is eczema. If so, the mainstay of treatment is using a good, thick moisturizer several times a day. It is best to use the 'greasy' kinds of moisturizers, such as Vaseline, as lotions tend to be too thin to effectively trap in moisture and protect the skin. Additionally, more stubborn cases of eczema often require topical steroid creams to help bring the inflammation down. Your doctor will also be able to rule out other common causes of the type of skin lesions you have. For example psoriasis, which is an auto immune condition of the skin that produces red, raised spots with a silvery flaky scale on top of them, is another common (and treatable) skin condition.

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