By Philip Hemmers, D.O.

Ask the Expert: What Causes Eczema to Resurface When My Kids Get Older?

February 11, 2013   |  Kids' Health  

Your child had eczema as a baby and toddler but seemed to outgrow it around age 5. Now that she is a teenager, the eczema is resurfacing. Dr. Phil Hemmers of the Allergy Center of Connecticut explains why eczema resurfaces in teens and how to treat it in older kids.

It is common for children to outgrow their eczema. Allergic diseases often follow a predictable progression named the “Atopic March.” A child with the wrong combination of allergic genes and environment is at risk. He or she may suffer with eczema and/or food allergies as a toddler. By elementary school these conditions often improve or resolve. Sadly, they are may be replaced by new environmental allergies and asthma.

For other children, eczema may return or persist. The eczema seen in teenagers and adults may look similar but there are key differences. The most obvious is location. Lesions now appear on the hands, wrists and around the eyes.

Food allergies no longer play an important role. Exacerbating factors now include stress, excessive sweating and hormones. Increased use of facial creams, cosmetics, perfumes and jewelry can cause skin irritation and contact allergy.

Effective treatment is paramount. Left uncontrolled, eczema may have a significant impact on social life and self-esteem. Unfortunately, teenagers do not always make the best patients. Adhering to a consistent skincare regimen is a problem--in particular, convincing a teenage boy to apply greasy ointments four times a day is a significant challenge.

Dr. Philip Hemmers, a native of Long Beach, NY, is certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology to care for both children and adults. He practices at the Allergy Center of Connecticut with offices in Bridgebort, CT and Norwalk, CT.

Dr. Hemmers earned a bachelor's in biomedical engineering from Duke University and attended medical school at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed a pediatric internship and residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center and a fellowship training at Long Island College Hospital.

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