As if it isn't enough for eczema to be itchy, irritating, and sometimes even painful, the common condition — also known as atopic dermatitis — is sneaky and unpredictable, too. Flareups can appear on different parts of your body, in the form of dry, dark, or red patches, and the symptoms are far from one-size-fits-all.
"Eczema happens when your skin's barrier is compromised," says dermatologist Caroline Robinson, MD. "There's more hydration leaving the skin than coming in, causing it to be dry, cracked, and inflamed."
Common triggers include things like allergens, dust, fragrance, and even the climate, but an exact cause — and therefore proven cure — for eczema is still unknown. We do know that there are still ways to seek sweet relief from those painful patches. Prescription-strength treatments like hydrocortisone are available through a dermatologist, but plenty of over-the-counter treatments can also help soothe symptoms on the spot.
If you've been struggling with irritating flare-ups, but aren't sure where to start with a regimen, we asked top dermatologists for their go-to picks, ahead.
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