Eczema & Other Itchy Rashes

Written by Kristina Collins, M.D., FAAD

Eczema is a super common skin condition for children and adolescents. How do you know if you have eczema? If you have a rash in the fold of the forearm or behind the knees, as well as any itchy rashes in other areas of the body you may have eczema. Lots of individuals with eczema also have either hay fever or asthma.

Eczema is sometimes called the “itch that rashes” and the first step of improving eczema is reducing trauma to the skin.

  • Make sure to avoid hot showers or baths and avoid rubbing the skin dry. Instead, take lukewarm showers and pat the skin dry.
  • Immediately after showering (while the skin is still damp) apply moisturizers all over the skin. For areas with an active rash, you can apply over-the-counter cortisone and then seal with a coat of thick moisturizer, like petroleum jelly or Aquaphor.
  • Apply thick, non-fragrant, hypoallergenic moisturizers several times daily.

Sometimes skin rashes can appear like eczema, but are really due to allergens that the skin is exposed to. This is called contact dermatitis and avoidance of the triggers is the only way to stop the process. If you notice a rash begins a few weeks after starting a new job or starting a new activity, think about potential allergens you may have been exposed to (such as poison ivy during yard work or latex gloves during cleaning).