Eczema is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system response to internal and external factors and irritants, such as soaps, clothing, extreme temperatures and cold or hot weather. Eczema is usually marked by dry and red patches of skin that itch and tend to worsen when scratched. Patches of eczema occur most often on the body, arms, and legs, especially in creases in the skin like elbows and behind the knees, but it can appear anywhere on the body. In adults, the hands are most commonly involved. If the skin is repeatedly scratched, the skin may become thick and coarse or become infected. There are many treatment options for treating eczema. To reduce the itching, your doctor may prescribe steroidal creams or antibiotics if an infection is present. Phototherapy or other treatments may also be recommended.
Phototherapy or light therapy involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light for a set amount of time on a consistent basis. Present in natural sunlight, UVB is an effective treatment for eczema. UVB light penetrates the skin and decreases inflammation. This in turn decreases itching. Ask your doctor if light therapy is an option to treat your eczema.