Eczema & Rashes

Rashes often are minor skin irritations that respond successfully to home therapy, but a lingering rash or one that covers much of your skin should be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist or qualified physician assistant. At Central Dermatology Center based in Chapel Hill, rash treatment plans are carefully considered based on your health history and examination.

If you live in Chapel Hill, Sanford, or other areas near Raleigh-Durham, Central Dermatology Center has several locations staffed by board-certified dermatologists and physician assistants experienced in treating both mild and severe rashes. Request an appointment online, or call (919) 401-1994 to schedule an appointment.

About Eczema/Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a general term that covers a range of skin conditions. Contact dermatitis – an allergic reaction to something that touched your skin – is probably the most common. Another form of dermatitis, called eczema (or atopic dermatitis), often develops in babies and young children. We treat many children and offer a comforting environment for them. Fortunately, eczema typically goes away before children reach adolescence.


In many cases, we will combat atopic dermatitis and other rashes by combining treatments. For example, a patient will use a corticosteroid cream to clear up the rash, an antihistamine to ease itching, and an oral antibiotic if the rash is infected. It’s important to follow the treatment plan created by your provider. Even mild topical creams, if overused, can result in another skin condition.

  • Mild skin care regimen – Daily use of mild cleansers, such as Dove®, Aveeno®, Cerave®, or Cetaphil®, and avoiding long, hot showers are important components of daily skin care for patients with eczema. Once or twice daily applying a moisturizer that helps repair the skin such as Cerave®, Aveeno®, Cetaphil®, or Eucerin®, is an essential part of managing dermatitis. Wearing 100% cotton clothing can be helpful as well. Oatmeal soaks, anti itch creams containing menthol and cool washcloths are often helpful in relieving symptoms of itching on a temporary basis.
  • Topical corticosteroids – Creams and ointments are effective in clearing up smaller rashes. If over the counter hydrocortisone has not been effective, we usually will prescribe stronger formulations that when used properly, are safe to use for all age groups.
  • Topical non-steroidal treatments – Prescription creams that do not contain steroids are often very useful when necessary. These may include barrier repair creams or other treatments such as Elidel®, or Protopic® that can be very useful to help manage chronic cases of eczema.
  • Antihistamines – Controlling the itching that accompanies dermatitis and most rashes is important. Not only does the constant itchiness make you or your child uncomfortable, scratching a rash usually exacerbates the condition. We usually recommend using the oral forms of antihistamine and avoiding antihistamine creams as occasionally patients may become allergic to the cream or topical form.
  • Antibiotics – It’s important to note if the rash is accompanied by a fever and/or yellowish oozing as an antibiotic may be indicated.
  • Oral corticosteroids – If your rash is fairly widespread, you may be prescribed an oral corticosteroid. They are not typically used for long-term treatment.
  • Immunosuppressants – These medications are used only to treat severe rashes or flare-ups of chronic conditions because they leave your immune system compromised.