Dry Skin or Eczema?

April Peveteaux

Flickr: Photo by Seaweed Lady
Winter skin
is the worst. Every December a dry patch appears somewhere on my person and it doesn't go away until March. This year, however, it was a spreading patch (attractive, right?).

I attributed the horrifying state of my skin to the brutal winter we had here in Northeast and was anxiously waiting my trip to sunny Austin, Texas where my skin would clear up and all would be right in the world. Didn't happen.

Instead, I gave up on a seasonal fix and went to my dermatologist who declared my winter skin to be eczema. Yuck. But now my unfortunate situation can be of service, as I discovered the difference between the two and will now always be on alert -- any time of the year.

Dr. David Colbert of the New York Dermatology Group explained it all to me.

"Everyone with eczema periodically has dry skin, but not everyone with dry skin has eczema."

I asked Colbert to explain both, so even I could understand. He did -

"Eczema, aka dermatitis, is a condition in which the skin is dry, inflamed and itchy. It is also called atopic dermatitis. It has a genetic basis and is often linked with asthma. The treatment is usually a prescription hyrdrocortisone and pertolatum-based mositurizers."

"Dry skin, aka xerosis, is a condition in which the skin has lost too much water and appears flaky. It can happen to anyone. The treatment is simple moisturizers."

For more for more of the dermatologist's wisdom, visit the New York Dermatology Group.




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