Approximately 70 million Americans suffer with eczema -- light, dark or red patches of skin that are commonly seen on the elbows, behind the knees, on the back of the neck and on the hands and feet. The condition, which usually causes itchiness and extreme discomfort, is genetically linked to asthma and allergies. Therefore, if one of these three things runs in your family, you are genetically predisposed to the other two. Eczema is a problem all year long, but it tends to worsen in the winter due to the lack of humidity in the air.
The main treatments for eczema include using a good moisturizer (Aveeno, Cetaphil) and a moisturizing soap (Dove, Olay), and avoiding scratching, which can cause flare-ups. Try soaking in an oatmeal bath (I recommend Aveeno), skipping regular bubble baths and using baby oil in the tub or after your shower.
Your doctor may recommend medications such as oral antihistamines (like Claritin and Zyrtec), topical corticosteroids, immunomodulators and even prednisone, a strong oral corticosteroid.