When To Speak With A Doctor
A person should see their doctor if they suspect they have a skin infection. This is particularly true when the infection develops in an area where their eczema tends to flare up.
If a person has noticed their eczema has worsened or is no longer responding to their usual treatment, they may benefit from speaking with a doctor or dermatologist.
A dermatologist can help a person identify the type of eczema they have and prescribe treatments that may be more effective. They can also refer someone for diagnostic tests, such as allergy testing, if necessary.
If a rash appears suddenly, spreads quickly, or shows signs of infection, see a doctor as soon as possible.
How Is Eczema Diagnosed
There is no specific test used to diagnose eczema. A doctor will look at the rash and ask about your symptoms and past health, as well as your family’s health. If you or your family members have any atopic conditions, that’s an important clue.
The doctor will want to rule out other conditions that can cause skin inflammation. The doctor might recommend that you see a dermatologist or an allergist.
How Stress May Trigger Eczema
When considering the relation between stress and eczema, it has been suggested that stress results in a spike in the hormone cortisol. When cortisol is produced in an excessive amount because of stress, the skin tends to become abnormally oily. As a result, you may encounter an eczema outbreak.
A study also suggests that stress affects skin conditions and increases the time required for the skin to recover from irritation and skin damage. Stress can not only trigger eczema but may also result in chronic eczema flare-ups that can leave an individual more stressed. This often forms an apparently endless cycle.
Another study revealed that the stress during pregnancy may increase the risk of eczema outbreaks in infants. The study included approximately 900 mothers, their children and analyzed their stress levels during their pregnancy stage. It was reported that women with a high anxiety levels during their pregnancy increased their infants chances of developing eczema, when they were between 6 and 8 months old.
In case of those with eczema, stress leaves an adverse impact on the immune system. As a result, the process of wound healing is badly affected and becomes slow. The immune system fails to induce a quick response to repair the tissues.
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Health Equity In Eczema Treatments
Just because different treatment options exist doesn’t mean people are going to pursue them. According to a 2015 study published in JAMA Dermatology, cost was a major treatment barrier among the over 60,000 study subjects:
- 17.6% delayed care due to concerns about cost
- 13.1% did not seek care due to concerns about cost
- 15.7% report an inability to cover the cost of prescriptions
Furthering the divide is a new injectable biologic medication called Dupixent. It was approved in 2017 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat some 300,000 people suffering from severe eczema who havent responded to other treatments. The high cost of the druga whopping $37,000 per yearis out of reach for most, and is the subject of continued advocacy efforts between drug makers and insurance companies, according to The New York Times.
What Else Should I Know
If you live with eczema, tune in to what triggers it and how to manage it. For example, if you find that some types of makeup irritate your skin, ask a dermatologist to recommend brands that are less likely to do so.
Your self-esteem doesnt have to suffer because you have eczema, and neither does your social life! Getting involved in your school and extracurricular activities can be a great way to get your mind off the itch.
Dont forget to exercise. Its a great way to blow off stress try walking, bike riding, swimming, or another sport that keeps your skin cool and dry while you work out.
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What Causes Adult Eczema
Although the cause is not completely understood, its thought that variations in certain genes affect your skins ability to protect itself from irritants. Certain environmental substances trigger an immune response that leads to inflammation in and on the skin.
Triggers may include:
- Allergens, such as pet dander
- Certain foods or ingredients that can cause inflammation, such as dairy, gluten and sugar
- Cigarette smoke and environmental chemicals
Managing Eczema And Stress
One of the biggest barriers in managing stress and eczema is to be able to clearly recognize what the stressor is, states Dr. Levenberg. A specific stressor is often challenging to identify or even change, and so a more general approach to stress reduction may be more helpful. Seek interventions that are known to lower stress and increase relaxation, such as modifying lifestyle factors, managing emotions, getting adequate rest/sleep, eating a healthy diet, and regular exercise, to name a few. Even one night of sleep loss can increase inflammation.
It is also essential to have a support group or friends and family for positive social relationships, says Dr. Levenberg. According to studies, positive social interaction can play just as an important role as diet and exercise when it comes to health. In the current pandemic, it may be harder to achieve social support. However, it is essential to still ensure people stay in touch with their friends and family network in a safe, socially distanced, or virtual manner. Research shows that being socially isolated can increase the risk of inflammation to the same extent as being physically inactive in the adolescent years.
1. Eczema Symptoms & Causes | National Eczema Association. National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/. Published 2020. Accessed November 9, 2020.
2. Bieber T. Atopic Dermatitis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2008 358:1483-1494. doi:10.1056/nejmra074081
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What Causes Eczema Flare
A long list of factors can cause eczema to flare up. âIt could be anything that activates the immune system or anything you come in contact with,â says Sadati. Among these triggers are food, the environment, weather, and, most commonly: stress. In fact, in a National Eczema Society landmark patient survey conducted in 2020, stress was identified as the single biggest trigger of eczema flare-ups. Interestingly enough, far more women were affected than men .
The silver lining? âFace flare-ups typically donât last as long as ones on the body,â notes Akhavan. They can still last a few weeks, he explains, but that time can be shortened with the help of proper treatment.
Next Take A Look At Your Lifestyle
Once you have your diet under control, you could look at your lifestyle.
Slow down & take some time for yourself: If your day-to-day routine is busy and hectic, its important that you try and set aside some time for yourself every day, at least 30 minutes. Its also essential that you get plenty of good-quality sleep as this can have a huge impact on your overall happiness and wellbeing, as our sleep advisor Marianna details in her blog, Is a good nights sleep the key to happiness?
Exercise regulary: Getting plenty of exercise can also help to lower your stress levels. If you are new to working out, I would recommend starting with a low-impact form of exercise such as yoga, which can teach you deep breathing techniques, enabling you to cope with stress better. If you are more used to exercise, though, you could try running or cycling, which can be great for getting you outdoors and exposing you to more vitamin D!
Try a gentle stress remedy: Finally, if you feel that stress is really starting to take over your life, you could try our natural, gentle stress remedy, AvenaCalm, which works gradually to ease the symptoms of mild stress and anxiety, restoring a sense of balance and calm. Prepared using extracts of organic oat herb, this remedy is very popular with our customers and can also be used to help you drift off into a natural sleep.
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Eczema: A Psychodermatologic Disorder
Eczema is considered a psychodermatologic disorder, which means that its a physical condition tied to emotional health. When youre stressed out at work or school or overwhelmed by bills or projects at home, your skin can react. For many people, eczema is well-controlled with treatments. But for those whose eczema doesnt respond well to treatments, such as moisturizers and topical corticosteroid ointments, its time to look at whether stress is triggering or worsening eczema symptoms.
- Eczema is considered a psychodermatologic disorder, which means that its a physical condition tied to emotional health.
- For many people, eczema is well-controlled with treatments.
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How Long Do Eczema Rashes Last
Dealing with rashes and eczema can be very frustrating and difficult. The dryness, itching, and other unpleasant symptoms can sometimes feel overwhelming. Fortunately, you can reduce your symptoms and improve your comfort levels by getting help from Dr. Ronald Jurzyk at Advanced Dermatology Center in Wolcott, CT.
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Moisturize Your Skin Regularly
Because constant scratching tends to break down and damage the protective layer of your skin, its important to moisturize twice daily even when youre not having a flare-up.
Talk to your dermatologist about the best type of over-the-counter emollient for your skin. Be sure to select unscented options.
Other skin care tips:
- Ask your doctor which skin cleansers are best.
- Keep your skin as clean as possible to avoid Staph infection.
- Avoid taking bubble baths or using scented bath salts.
- When you do bathe, use lukewarm water.
- Moisturize within 3 minutes of exiting the bathtub or shower.
How To Reduce Stress & Manage Flare
The last thing we want is for you to start feeling even more stressed or guilty that youre feeling stressed. Remember that we all encounter stressful situations at different points in our life, and minor stressors can come up every single day. Whats most important is having the tools to support your mind and body when those stressful situations arise.
Here are a few ways to help you lower your stress levels and fight the itch:
Finding time to squeeze a workout into a busy schedule can feel like a daunting task, but research shows just 20 or 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can help reduce stress. Not sure what aerobic exercises are? Think cardio workouts like running, walking, biking, jump roping, kickboxing, etc.
A 2016 study found that experienced meditators had reduced stress and inflammatory responsiveness and the best part? You can begin implementing a meditation practice in as little as five or 10 minutes each day. Simply set aside quiet time to focus on your breathing and allow your thoughts to flow away. There are plenty of online resources and apps to help get you started if needed.
Interestingly, research has shown yoga to have a similar effect as meditation on cortisol levels.
Get Enough Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends healthy adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night, yet most adults are reporting getting less than that amount.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
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Managing Your Stress Levels
While there are many steps that you can take to soothe your skin during an eczema flare-up, it goes without saying that prevention is better than cure.
This means learning how to manage your stress levels and keep them well under control.
Does this sound impossible?
There are actually quite a few scientifically-proven ways to reduce stress.
Want to know what these are?
The first is exercising, and this needs to be done every single day in order for it to really have an effect.
Dont believe that a little exercise can really make such a big difference?
There are countless studies out there that prove this. In fact, recent studies have even shown that when you work on strengthening your muscles, this causes them to release enzymes that detoxify the body of the substances that stress and inflammation cause.
Exercise also encourages your brain to release endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals that boost the mood.
Finally, just the repetitive motion that comes with exercise works in a similar way to meditation, calming the mind.
Even if you do not enjoy exercising, there are plenty of ways to get active that do not involve a sport or going to the gym. Try taking a brisk walk with a friend every evening, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or finding a hobby that involves you staying on your feet for a while.
Want to give this a try?
There are so many breathing exercises out there, but one of the most effective is the 4-7-8 method.
Here are the steps to follow:
Ways To Reduce Eczema
There are also many options you can take to reduce your eczema symptoms in general. First, visit your dermatologist so that they can properly diagnose you and perform tests to see what type of eczema you have and why you have eczema. There are many different types of eczema, some of which include atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis. There are a variety of treatment options for eczema like:
- OTC Products
- Prescription Products Many of these include topical creams with medications like corticosteroids, PDE4 inhibits, hydrocortisone, or topical calcineurin inhibitors to help relieve symptoms. Using hydrocortisone for eczema is a common practice and one that we explore in additional detail in our blog.
- Light Therapy
In addition to treating your eczema treatment, if you are suffering from the other common co-occurring conditions such as anxiety, depression, or auto-immune diseases, you should schedule an appointment with your general doctor as well. They will be able to offer treatments for these conditions that will help not only help them, but eczema symptoms as well. If you have questions on eczema or any other skin conditions, do not hesitate to contact us today!
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When Does This Skin Issue Usually Develop
Its common to develop this skin problem as a baby or a child. In fact, many people develop atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema, when they are children. That said, people can develop this skin problem at any point in their lives, and many adults will begin to have skin issues at later stages in their development.
How Exactly Does Stress Exacerbate Eczema
There are a number of ways in which stress can cause eczema flare-ups, and these are all down to the effect that stress has on other parts of the body.
Lets begin with the immune system
Eczema is an autoimmune disease, which is why doctors often prescribe immunosuppresant medications for the condition.
While these do reduce the way in which the immune system responds to triggers, they do this in quite a controlled way, because if your immune system is too suppressed, then this will end up making you more vulnerable to triggers.
Each time your body experiences stress, it sends the stress hormone, known as cortisol, shooting through your body. If this only happens occasionally, it is not a problem, but when it happens regularly and frequently, this is then referred to as chronic stress.
When chronic stress is experienced, the high amounts of cortisol in your body end up damaging the cells in your immune system, making it much weaker, and leaving your body, and your skin, more exposed.
As you can imagine, this only ends up having a negative effect on eczema. A weakened immune system means that your body and skin are going to react so much more strongly to any triggers, exacerbating your symptoms.
This is not the only way in which stress affects your immune system, which then affects your skin
Each time you experience feelings of stress, your immune system responds to this with inflammation, as this is its way of trying to protect the skin.
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I Have Both Eczema And Allergies Is It Safe To Take The Covid
Most people with eczema and allergies can have the COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get vaccinated even if they have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medicationssuch as foods, pets, or latex allergies.
They advise that the only people at risk with allergies are those that have had an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components, including polyethylene glycol .
Why Has My Skin Become Itchy And Red
Many scientists believe that this skin issue is caused by the behavior of your immune system. When you come into contact with an irritating fabric, skincare product, or other triggers, your immune system may cause you to experience inflammation. This inflammation can lead to rashes and other skin issues.
Scientists also believe that this is a hereditary condition. In other words, if your parents suffered from this skin problem, you are more likely to develop flaky skin during your lifetime. In addition, having asthma and allergies can increase your risk of experiencing this problem.
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Practice Good Bath And Shower Etiquette
Take warm baths or showers and keep them short. Long, hot showers can dry out your skin, making it more prone to flare-ups. Use unscented bath products, and not too much of them. When youre done, use a soft towel to pat yourself dry. Dont rub. Slather moisturizer on your skin immediately after a shower, while your skin is still damp, to help your skin best absorb the moisture and lock it on.