Eczema is a chronic skin condition leading to itchy and red blotches on the skin. It lasts if it remains untreated. It may flares up periodically and subsides eventually. Though this skin ailment is common among children, adults may also suffer from it. In some cases, eczema may be associated with asthma and hay fever.
Types of eczema
Eczema can be of various types, like:
- Atopic dermatitis– Since it is the most common form of eczema, people often use both the terms interchangeably. It usually affects the face, hands, inner elbows, and feet.
- Contact dermatitis– It develops due to contact with objects leading to this type of skin rashes.
- Nummular eczema– These are round sores, usually appearing after an injury, burn, or insect bite.
- Dyshidrotic eczema– It appears when the skin becomes fragile and is unable to protect itself.
- Stasis dermatitis– You may get these rashes on your legs if you have poor blood flow.
- Seborrheic dermatitis– If you have overactive oil glands, then there is a chance of you developing this skin condition. On the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis appears as dandruff.
What are the causes of eczema?
When your skin remains healthy, it retains moistures and prevents the entry of bacteria, irritants, and allergens through its surface. However, in some individuals, the skin becomes fragile due to genetic variation and cannot protect itself from germs and allergens. They are prone to eczema. In babies and children, skin disorders can also develop due to food allergies.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
There is a wide variation in the signs and symptoms of eczema. These usually include:
- Dry skin
- Severe itchiness on the skin which flares at night
- Face, neck, chest, hands, wrists, ankles, and feet develop red to brownish-gray macules or papules
- Cracked and scaly skin
- Tiny, fluid-filled, raised bumps appear on the epidermis. If you scratch them, they tend to ooze fluids
- Sensitive and swollen skin
When to see a doctor for eczema?
When the signs and symptoms of eczema flare-up, immediately seek medical attention. If you delay, it may lead to pustules on the skin , . In the case of children, never neglect infected rashes, especially if your child has a fever.
Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.
What are the risk factors associated with eczema?
You may have a higher risk of developing eczema if you:
- Have a family history of eczema.
- Are susceptible to allergies and hay fever.
- Are asthmatic.
What are the complications of eczema?
The complications of eczema may include:
- Asthma and hay fever– Studies reveal that 40-77% of children experiencing eczema tend to develop asthma and hay fever
- Patchy and itchy skin– Many eczema patients have a risk of neurodermatitis, caused by the lichen Simplex chronicus. Here, your skin turns itchy, and you develop a tendency to scratch the skin to get some relief from the itchiness. Finally, the epidermis becomes thick, leathery, and discolored.
- Skin infections– Prolonged suffering from eczema can break open the skin at the rashes. It acts as an entry point for germs like bacteria and viruses.
- Allergic contact dermatitis– Eczema also increases the risk of allergic contact dermatitis.
Home remedies for eczema
Eczema patients often try various lifestyle changes and home remedies for soothing the symptoms. Here is a list of some of the tried and tested techniques for controlling the skin condition:
It is an excellent practice to regularly moisturize your skin with good quality cream, ointments, sprays, or bath oils. This regimen nourishes the skin and soothes eczema rashes. Good moisturization, including aquaphor or cetaphil help in resolving the eczema issues. Moisturizing before and after taking a bath.
- Application of anti-itching creams
You may also try out different non-prescription, anti-inflammatory creams to soothe the irritation caused due to eczema. These creams contain 1% hydrocortisone and help temporarily reduce the itching sensation. Apply these creams twice a day for better results. Once the itching subsides, use the cream occasionally to prevent flare-ups.
- Resist the urge to scratch
Scratching the eczema rashes worsens the condition. So, even if you feel like scratching the dry skin, try to resist the urge. You may try pressing down on the skin to stop the irritation. If children develop eczema, trim their nails regularly, or make them wear gloves to prevent the repercussions of scratching.
- Cover the affected area
Cover the affected area with a clean and sterile bandage to protect the skin. The covering prevents germs from entering and also saves it from your scratching.
- Take a warm bath
Taking a warm bath (preferably in a tub) for 10 to 15 minutes also helps relieve the irritation caused due to eczema. Add baking soda or uncooked oatmeal to the water for the best results. Immediately after taking a bath, apply a generous coat of moisturizer to retain the skin’s hydration.
- Use mild soaps
If you are suffering from eczema, use only mild soaps on your skin. Do not use scented soaps or those containing artificial colors, as they can further irritate your skin. Do not forget to rinse your body thoroughly after applying the soap.
- Use a humidifier indoors
Doctors suggest that dry indoor air is not suitable for eczema. It makes the skin prone to itching and flaking. So, use a portable home humidifier to increase the humidity in your room. It will keep your skin moisturized and prevent scratching.
- Wear comfortable clothing
Always wear comfortable, smooth-textured clothing when you have eczema. Avoid tight clothes with embellishments, as they make the skin itchy and worsen the rashes.
Medical treatments for eczema
Doctors may prescribe the following treatment for eczema if home remedies do not provide satisfactory results.
Medications for eczema
• Corticosteroid-based ointments and creams
Dermatologists often prescribe corticosteroid-based ointments and creams for controlling the itching in rashes. However, apply a moisturizer before using the cream, as excessive application may lead to skin thinning.
If you develop a bacterial infection on the open sores and cracks, then oral antibiotics help control the medical condition.
• Anti-inflammatory medicines or anti- allergic medication
Your physician may also advise anti-inflammatory drugs if you suffer from severe cases of eczema. However, they are not beneficial for long-term use due to potential side-effects.
• Injectable biologic
Recently, doctors are also prescribing an injectable biologic (monoclonal antibody) for treating severe symptoms of eczema. Since it is a new medication, there are limited records available on the effectiveness and side effects. However, patients using them have found it to be safe and effective.
Treatment for children with eczema
When infants develop eczema, doctors identify and isolate the irritants, limit exposure to extreme temperatures, and advise bath oils and creams for their tender skin.
Preventive measures for eczema
Consider the following tips for preventing eczema:
- Identify the triggers– Strong soaps, perfumes, detergents, sweat, dust, and pollen often act as triggers for eczema. Children may also experience flare-ups after consuming specific foods like eggs, soy, wheat, and milk. If you have a family history of this skin issue, then stay away from the triggers.
- Take short showers– Do not spend more than 10 to 15 minutes in the shower.
- Undergo bleach bath– Occasional diluted-bleach bath (with household bleach) reduces the skin’s bacterial build-up. It is beneficial in preventing eczema among susceptible candidates.
The bottom line
About 10% to 20% of children experience this skin issue in the early stages of life. However, most of them outgrow it before reaching 10 years of age. Until now, there is no known cure for eczema. Therefore, regular treatment and following preventive measures will help in soothing the skin and limiting new outbreaks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How do doctors diagnose eczema?
Doctors examine your skin closely and make a note of your medical history for diagnosing eczema. They may also run a patch test to ascertain the skin condition. However, in the case of children, do not forget to mention family history or food allergies that lead to flare-ups.
- What is light therapy for eczema?
If you do not get much relief from eczema even after applying all the topical medicines, doctors may advise light therapy. Here, the affected part of your body gets exposed to a controlled amount of sunlight. In some cases, doctors may also use artificial UVA (Ultraviolet A Rays) and narrowband UVB (Ultraviolet B) for managing eczema.
- What are the side-effects of light therapy?
In some cases, long-term light therapy may induce premature skin aging and skin cancer. Due to these adverse effects, doctors do not advise phototherapy for infants and small children.
So, this was all about eczema. Never neglect the warning signs of this skin condition, as early diagnosis is the first step towards a successful cure.
If you are looking for the best treatment facilities for this skin condition:
Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.