What Is Eczema And How Do I Get It
Is your skin red and blotchy? Do those patches drive you mad with itchiness? Sounds like you have eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. A particularly bad attack is called a “flare”.
Sadly, it’s probably not anything you did to get it. While the causes of eczema are not completely clear, most people with eczema also suffer from allergies, so there is probably a genetic component to why you drew the short straw.
But you can try and avoid triggers – such as perfumes, chlorine and grass – and try not to dry out the skin with soaps.
Baby eczema can be caused by food allergies but seek medical advice before eliminating any food groups.
Oral Or Injected Immunosuppressants
Oral immunosuppressant medications prevent the bodys immune system from sending an inflammatory response to the skin, which results in less itching, redness, and rash.
Immunosuppressant medications are available in varying strengths, and doctors determine the dosage based on your age, severity of symptoms, location and extent of the rash, your weight, and whether you have other medical conditions. Typically, these medications are taken once or twice daily, although the dosage can vary.
If eczema or dermatitis is severe, a doctor may recommend immunosuppressant medication that is injected into the skin. Your dermatologist determines the appropriate schedule of injections. He or she may administer the injections in a doctors office or show you how to do it so you can inject the medication at home.
Dermatologists may prescribe immunosuppressant medication for weeks or months or until symptoms of eczema or dermatitis are under control. Often, our doctors may reduce or stop a prescription at that time to see whether symptoms can be managed using topical medication, , or at-home therapies.
In some instances when symptoms cant be relieved by other treatments, therapy with immunosuppressant medications may continue for years. Your doctor can discuss side effects of immunosuppressant medications.
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Why Is Eczema Such A Pain
“In people with eczema the skin does not retain moisture very well, which causes it to dry out easily. This makes the skin more open to allergens and irritants,” says the ASCIA website.
“These can trigger the skin to release chemicals that make the skin itchy. Scratching itchy skin causes more chemicals to be released, making the skin feel itchier. This scratch-and-itch cycle can cause discomfort, disrupt sleep and affect quality of life,” the website continues.
So how do you stop the annoying eczema cycle?
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How Can I Reduce Eczema Scarring
The best way to prevent eczema scarring is to effectively prevent and manage itching in the first place. When the itch is out of control, patients do the most damage. Keeping the skin well moisturized and nails trimmed and smoothed go a long way to reduce the risk of eczema scarring, warns Benjamin.
Nussbaum explains scarring is usually from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or residual redness from inflammation which may hyper- or hypopigment. The most important thing is to maintain a healthy skin barrier by using a gentle cleanser twice daily and moisturizer twice daily without any harsh ingredients, she shares.
Other key ingredients including vitamin C, niacinamide and aloe vera can assist with evening our skin tone, minimizing inflammation, and boosting collagen production. Oatmeal baths for 30 minutes a day can also help remove dead skin cells, calm inflammation and restore hydration while reducing scarring, shares Nussbaum. But, should the scarring be severe, we can certainly use laser resurfacing or other types of lasers to lessen the redness and hyper-pigmentation.
Who Can And Cannot Use Hydrocortisone Skin Treatments
Most adults and children aged 10 years and over can use hydrocortisone skin treatments.
Do not use hydrocortisone skin treatments on children under 10 years old unless their doctor recommends it.
Hydrocortisone is not suitable for some people. Tell your pharmacist or doctor before starting the medicine if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to hydrocortisone or any other medicine
- have a skin infection or eye infection
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or youre breastfeeding
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Prevent Skin Damage Caused By Scratching
Constant scratching can break the skin. To prevent bleeding and an infection, dermatologists recommend the following:
Keep your childs nails short: Checking nails after your childs bath lets you know when the nails need trimming.
Cover itchy skin: When skin is covered, children seem less likely to scratch. When dressing your child, be sure to:
Dress your child in lose-fitting clothes made from a soft, natural fiber-like cotton, a cotton blend, silk, or bamboo.
Consider using eczema mittens and eczema sleeves.
Eczema mittens can be effective when eczema flares on your babys face. Your baby may still scratch, but the scratching will cause less damage because the fingernails cannot dig into the skin.
Itch relief can be fickle
You may find that a technique works one day and not the next. If one technique fails, try another.
Related AAD resources
ReferencesEichenfield, LF, Tom WL, et al. Part 2: Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of atopic dermatitis with topical therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul 71:116-32.
Sidbury R, Tom WL, et al. Part 4: Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Part 4: Prevention of disease flares and use of adjunctive therapies and approaches. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014: 71 1218-33.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
What Do I Need To Know About Topical Corticosteroids Used To Treat Eczema
Topical corticosteroids are steroids that are placed topically, on the skin. Important points about their use include:
- Corticosteroids are often the first line of treatment for eczema.
- Corticosteroids are available as creams, solutions, foams and ointments.
- Low potency doses available without a prescription.
- Corticosteroids cause thinning of skin.
- If recommended by a physician, corticosteroids may be used 1-2 times per week to prevent outbreaks in areas that commonly flare.
- They come in different strengths do not substitute one for another without consulting a doctor.
- Childrens skin absorbs medicine more quickly and thoroughly than adult skin, so recommended medications and dosages differ according to age.
- For best and long-lasting results, use the medication for the full amount of time recommended by your physician. Discuss any concerns about side effects before discontinuing use.
- Always tell your physician and pharmacist about current or recent use of all forms of corticosteroids, including oral, inhaled, nasal, topical and eye drops.
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Sheamoisture African Black Soap
Made of all natural and organic ingredients including plantain peel, tamarind extract and palm ash, SheaMoistures African Black Soap has helped with many skin problems including not only eczema but oily skin and psoriasis as well. Its unique blend ensures that it is rich in the important vitamins A and E to help relieve irritation and heal and soften the skin. However some buyers report that for them it caused acne breakouts.
“The best soap ever. It really helped with my eczema and with blotches on my face. I recommend this soap to all my family and friends.” – Veruneeka
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Are There Any Possible Side Effects
On the whole, lotions for eczema are considered to be quite safe and unlikely to place your health in any danger. However, there are certain side effects that might have to be faced.
While they are not dangerous, they can be alarming if the person does not know about them beforehand.
For one thing, you might feel a stinging or burning sensation when you apply it in the beginning. This effect will improve as the treatment is continued.
Another problem that people complain of is with regards to thinning of the skin. This is a reversible problem which resolves once the application of the lotion is abandoned.
Some lotions may change the color of the skin where they are being applied. Furthermore, increased incidence of acne might have to be faced.
Hair growth in the area where the lotion is applied may also be enhanced.
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What Is The Best Natural Cure For Eczema
In addition to medication, you might be interested in natural treatments for atopic dermatitis. To start, try to identify anything that triggers an allergic reaction or reaction that leads to eczema flare-ups. After identifying these triggers you can avoid them to try and prevent eczema from flaring up in the first place.
After identifying allergies or triggers, you may want to use moisturizer, avoid irritants by using fragrance-free skincare products and cleansers or laundry detergents, and work on stress management techniques. If a flare-up of eczema does occur then here are a few ways you might try to treat it naturally:
Remember to consult a doctor or healthcare professional before using any natural treatments.
Cerave Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion
Cost: $46.95 for 230ml
Although other eczema creams are great for providing a solution for dry and damaged skin, many forget a key part of the skin condition which is the infuriating rash that begs you to keep itching it. CeraVes Moisturizing Lotion for Itch Relief has been labelled by The Strategist as the only thing thats ever worked to control the eczema itch. The clinically tested lotion has been found to extinguish that desire to scratch in under two minutes and keep it that way for up to eight hours.
“I’m a huge fan of CeraVe products and this lotion was no different. I have eczema on my hands and eyelids and this is a lifesaver when it flares up. It’s gentle enough to use on my face and hands without any issue and it alleviates and itchiness quickly.” – Andree D.
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What Is The Best Medication For Eczema
Finding the best medication or treatment option for atopic dermatitis can be tricky. Patients may need to try a few different methods depending on their condition, severity, and frequency of flare-ups. As with all medications, your best fit will depend on other medications you use, allergies, and how your body reacts to different medication types. Please consult a healthcare professional when selecting a medication for your eczema.
|Best medications for eczema|
|Blocks histamines within the body, which cause allergic reactions and has sedative effects for sleep.||Drowsiness, upset stomach, dry mouth|
Only a doctor can determine the right dosage for you based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and weight.
This is not a complete list of side effects.
How To Tell If You Have Eczema On Your Face
It can be tricky to distinguish the difference between eczema and dry skinboth are dry, both can be itchy, and both can be irritated with harsh products.
The key difference? Eczema usually flares up as patches in specific areas, like around your eyes or nose, says Marina Peredo, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. On the body, eczema often surfaces in the creases of your arms or knees.
Other telltale signs of eczema include swelling, redness, and flakes. Or, as Dr. Peredo puts it: Eczema looks angrier.
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How Much Medication Do You Need
Depending on your skin condition, you might need to reapply the antifungal cream for several days or weeks. Choose an appropriately sized tube or container of cream so you don’t run out and skip a treatment day. If your condition requires lengthy treatment, a larger tube would probably be less expensive in the long run.
Lastly A Special Note About Scrubs:
Although scrubs may be a seemingly obvious fix for sloughing off dead skin, avoid using scrubs on skin with active eczema. A scrub by definition would likely be really irritating for skin affected by eczema. However, if the granules are soft , and if the base of the product is heavier and more ointment-like, then water may be trapped in the skin , and the hydration may soothe the eczema.
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Best For Lips: Vaseline Lip Therapy
For Dr. Markowitz, Vaseline Lip Therapy is a go-to because of its simple formula. âThe best lip balm for eczema is one that is thick and doesnât have too many preservatives,â she shares. With the brandâs famous petroleum jelly at its base, this pick infuses inflamed, chapped lips with rich, soothing moisture and locks it in to prevent future dryness. Not only is it great for long-lasting relief, but its non-greasy and non-sticky formula ensures comfortable wear. For those who prefer a tinted lip balm treatment, Dr. Markowitz also recommends the Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm. She adds, âI really like this because it also has SPF in it.
âWhen my lips are super dry and cracked, this is the only product I’ve found that truly helps,âone reviewer said of the Vaseline Lip Therapy. Another shared, âI had a skin reaction to something and it’s recommended by my dermatologist. Soothing and helps healing.â
Other Topical Medication For Eczema
TCIs don’t contain steroids. Instead, they control inflammation and reduce eczema flare-ups by suppressing the immune system.
Though TCIs don’t cause the same side effects as topical corticosteroids, patients should only use them for short periods of time. A boxed warning alerts patients to the possible cancer risk associated with these drugs.
PDE4 inhibitors, a new class of topical drugs for eczema, work by blocking an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 4 from producing too much inflammation in the body. There is currently only one PDE4 inhibitor on the market: Eucrisa , which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016.
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Is There A Cure For Eczema
Eczema is a chronic condition, and there is no cure currently. Many people who develop eczema in their childhood will grow out of it.
However, adults can also develop eczema, which is often more severe than childhood eczema. Periods of flare-ups when the eczema is worse, and periods of remission when it gets better usually characterize adult eczema.
Because doctors cannot cure eczema, treatments focus on a person managing the symptoms of their condition. A person with eczema will also be encouraged to make changes to their everyday life to avoid key triggers.
According to the NEA, anxiety and stress can also be triggers of eczema. This means a vicious cycle can develop, with eczema making a persons anxiety and stress worse, and anxiety and stress impacting a persons eczema.
Evidence also exists that links eczema with mental health issues.
A study from 2013 found that children with eczema were more likely to experience mental health issues. The researchers found a link between the severity of eczema in children and the severity of their mental health issues.
As well as the physical effects of eczema, a person should also attend to these mental health symptoms. This might involve:
- speaking to a doctor about their mental health
- seeking support from friends and family
- seeking help and information from eczema support groups
- ensuring they sleep well
- exercising regularly
- finding ways of relaxing
Best For Your Torso: Isdin Uradin Lotion10
While urea may not be one of the FDA-approved psoriasis ingredients, Birnbaum says its still a good choice: Moisturizers that include urea are very beneficial for psoriasis as they exfoliate while enhancing the barrier of the skin. This is one of her favorites, and we especially like it for slathering onto the chest, stomach, and back, areas where you definitely dont want any kind of lingering greasy residue.
Another pick with urea, grab this the next time youre at the drugstore and slather it on from head to toe. Along with the smoothing, exfoliating benefits of the urea, its also super hydrating, not to mention, fragrance-, dye-, and paraben-free, all important qualities to seek out in a product when you have psoriasis.
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Cortizone 10 Intensive Healing Eczema Lotion
- Doesn’t absorb easily
- Not recommended for children under two years of age
If youre not wed to natural ingredients, and you want proven effective results fast, you might want to turn to a hydrocortisone eczema cream. This cream from Cortizone-10 features the powerful steroid to fight the most difficult eczema outbreaks. It also uses seven different moisturizers to help calm and heal affected skin.
According to WebMD, over the counter cortisone creams are often the first thing doctors recommend for patients suffering from eczema for its ability to quickly quash the itch with anti-inflammatory effects. But long term use of topical cortisone can cause skin thinning, bruising and more, so its worth doing some research before making your choice.
Soothing aloe, oats and shea butter deliver moisture to allow your skin to heal and repair.
- Expensive for a small container
- May irritate sensitive skin
- Can cause breakouts
Eczema can be tough to tackle, especially if youre looking for a vegan solution that can help heal and restore your itchy and irritated skin. This plant-based formula from THENA could be your answer. It helps to rejuvenate and restore stressed skin to a healthy, natural state using a proprietary mix of natural botanicals.
THENA also makes a mineral therapy bath treatment with Dead Sea salts specifically to target those who suffer from eczema and psoriasis, including babies.
- Can cause breakouts
- Somewhat oddly scented