What Causes An Eczema Flare
Triggers arenât the same for everyone, and there may be a lag between the trigger and the symptoms. Sweat, fabrics , pet dander, hot or cold weather, and harsh soaps are common triggers. Others include:
- Dry skin. It could get scaly, tight, and easy to crack, which can lead to a flare-up.
- Stress. For some people, emotional stress can trigger eczema symptoms. Doctors donât know exactly why this is, but there are ways to help lessen the stress in your life, from mind-body and meditation techniques, to lifestyle changes, to therapy approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy. Talk to your health care provider about how to reduce stress if itâs a trigger for your eczema.
- Irritants. These could include household items like hand and dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, body wash, or home cleaners and disinfectants. Juice from fruit, vegetables, and even meats can act as triggers in some people. Other common irritants include:
- Cigarette smoke
- Antibacterial ointment like neomycin and bacitracin
- Cocamidopropyl betaine
- Isothiazolinone (antibacterial in baby wipes and other personal products
Eczema Treatment: What You Can Do To Stop The Incessant Itch
Unidentified bumps and rashes can be caused by anything from allergies to keratosis pilaris, but eczema is one of the most common culprits. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a disorder of the skin barrier that causes dry, itchy patches. For some, it is just a mild annoyance, but it can also escalate to a level of itchiness that disrupts daily life. The proteins that link skin cells together dont work as well in people who have eczema versus those who have healthy skin, board-certified dermatologist Rita Linkner, M.D., F.A.A.D., tells SELF. Theyre missing that mortar between the bricks, and the bricks are to the elements.
Its a misconception that eczema is something only children have to deal with. While the symptoms can sometimes fade somewhere between first grade and the early 20s, there are plenty of adults who have to deal with eczema as well. According to the National Eczema Association, approximately 31.6 million Americans have eczema. Ten percent of children have the disorder, and the same percentage of adults are dealing with eczema. You can get it at age one, you can get it at age 81, or you can get it at age 101, New Jersey dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D., tells SELF. It can come up at any point in your life for no reason.
How To Prevent Flares
While there is no medication currently available that cures eczema, there are a few ways to prevent and treat flares.
First, knowing your personal eczema triggers can help you make informed choices around diet and activities. Keeping a journal may help you connect certain foods, weather, products, or activities to flares.
Moisturizing your skin as much as possible can also help, as can bathing after exercising or other high-energy activities.
If your eczema is more severe, your doctor may have prescribed topical and/or immunosuppressant medications to reduce itching. Using these medicines as prescribed can help prevent eczema flares.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
To manage dyshidrotic eczema, your physician may recommend removal of irritating agents and, if many blisters are present, soaks with drying agents.
- Medium- and high-potency topical steroids may be prescribed to be used twice daily. Use of a high-potency topical steroid initially that is tapered as allowed may be most beneficial.
- An oral steroid may be necessary but people often cannot be tapered off this therapy.
- Chronic, severe disease can be treated with a form of light therapy called PUVA administered by a dermatologist.
Can Eczema Trigger Post
The long and short answer is yes.
Seeing as Black people are already more prone to hyperpigmentation, leaving eczema untreated can lead to a worsening of dark spots. But the way to remedy this issue is to begin to treat the skin as soon as a flare-up starts.
“Oftentimes, the hyperpigmentation is more psychologically disturbing to the patient than the eczema flare,” explains Dr. Okereke. “It can last several months, even years. Topicals that we utilize to treat hyperpigmentation such as hydroquinone can potentially irritate the skin, therefore a thoughtful plan is required to effectively manage both conditions without precipitating a flare.”
That said, if you’re dealing with both conditions at once, go for products with gentle, moisturizing ingredients like vitamin E that will tackle both issues at once without causing further irritation.
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What Are The Current Treatment Options For Adults With Eczema
There are various types of treatments to manage eczema. A doctor can go over the different options with you and create a treatment plan that works for your specific type of eczema and symptoms.
Treatments can include lifestyle changes, medications , and alternative treatments. Well discuss each of these options in more detail below.
Can Eczema Be Life
Eczema in and of itself is not life-threatening, but if uncontrolled, it can have life-threatening complications. We can usually catch it early and manage it. However, some bacteria and viruses can cause infections in patients with eczema, leading to serious or potentially life-threatening complications.
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Eczema Around The Eye
When eczema occurs on the face, it often affects the skin around the eyes or eyelids . Eczema that develops near the eyes needs special attention because the eyes themselves can be affected.
Molluscum Contagiosum And Papules
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin disorder that appears as red, painless bumps. These are often confused with papules but their cause is different . This infection is caused by a weakened immune system, whereas papules occur due to certain skin conditions.
Acne papules are not a serious skin condition. However, they can convert into pustules and cause scarring if you attempt to pop them. Following a regular skincare routine can help prevent and reduce acne symptoms.
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Age Family Genes And Ethnicity
Adult eczema affects between 5-10% of people in the UK. It is more common in urban areas and among people of black and Asian ethnicities. The incidence, or first diagnosis, of eczema or itchy, dry skin becomes more likely for everyone after their 59th birthday.
There may also be some underlying genetic reasons why some people are more susceptible to eczema. 50% of sufferers are thought to be lacking a protein in the skin called filaggrin, which weakens skin’s barrier function. Many of those who develop eczema later in life may have had eczema in childhood but have not been troubled by it in their early adulthood. Alternatively, you may find existing eczema worsening as you get older or for other reasons.
Eczema Coping Tips Avoid Changes In Temperature
Abrupt temperature and humidity changes can sometimes irritate the skin for example, going in and out of air-conditioned buildings on hot days or heated buildings on cold days.Hard physical activity or exercise that makes you sweat heavily can also trigger the itch of eczema.Suggestions include:
- In winter, dont overheat your house. Dress warmly when going outdoors and remove the extra layers as soon as you return.
- In summer, dont over cool your house. Air conditioners can dry out the air and irritate your skin.
- Avoid hard physical activity in hot weather. For example, do your gardening first thing in the morning, or in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky.
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Finding The Right Moisturizer
Finding a moisturizer that works can be a challenge. What works for one person may not work for another and as the condition of your skin changes, so can the effectiveness of a product. A manufacturer may also change the formulation of a product periodically as well. Start with the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance to find moisturizers free of fragrance, dyes and other common allergens. Products on this list are recognized by NEA as suitable for care of eczema or sensitive skin. Moisturizers are classified as ointments, creams, lotions or skin barrier repair creams based on the amount of oil and water they contain. The more oil in a moisturizer, the better it usually is at treating eczema.
Signs Of An Infection
Areas of skin affected by eczema can become infected. Signs of an infection can include:
- your eczema getting a lot worse
- fluid oozing from the skin
- a yellow crust on the skin surface or small yellowish-white spots appearing in the eczema
- the skin becoming swollen and sore
- a high temperature and generally feeling unwell
See your GP as soon as possible if you think your or your childs skin may have become infected.
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How Do You Treat Eczema Blisters
First, do your best manage your eczema. This can reduce flare-ups and blisters.
Phototherapy and calcineurin creams are two common treatments a dermatologist may recommend to treat the blisters. Your doctor may also suggest topical steroids, sometimes used alongside dupilimumab, an injection treatment approved a few years ago by the Food and Drug Administration .
When used for a short period of time, topical steroids may clear up your skin. Side effects can be serious, so its important to talk with your doctor about the impact of prolonged use.
To prevent your skin from drying out and cracking, apply a thick moisturizing cream every day. Try to find moisturizers that contain ceramides. These are ingredients that help repair your skins natural barrier.
Wash any affected areas of skin daily with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. While your skin is still damp, apply a moisturizing cream. Apply until it has fully absorbed.
Avoid products with the potential to irritate your skin. Try to buy fragrance-free cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps. Wear gloves to protect your hands when you use household cleaners, which may contain harsh ingredients.
Sometimes eczema blisters can get infected. Your doctor can test your skin for bacteria and prescribe antibiotics to treat infections.
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Is Vaseline Good For Eczema
The good news is that the National Eczema Association has affirmed that Vaseline® Jelly Original is suitable for eczema sufferers and people with sensitive skin conditions. You can use petroleum jelly on eczema-prone areas, to help combat the dry skin symptoms.
Herpes simplex and herpes zoster
Herpes simplex and herpes zoster cause painful blisters. Both start as a red macule, which soon becomes raised and forms a vesicle. Pain preceding the appearance of the skin lesions is a very important clue to this diagnosis.
Herpes simplex causes small, closely grouped vesicles on a red base and these can be located anywhere on the body, not just the most common sites .
Herpes zoster lesions are more linear and restricted to one side of the body following a dermatome. In immunosuppressed people or patients on chemotherapy, this condition can involve several dermatomes.
Herpes simplex can be treated with either topical or oral aciclovir. Frequent recurrences may need an extended course of oral aciclovir. In immunosuppressed patients, herpes simplex can become generalised and may be life-threatening. In this situation, hospital admission and IV antivirals will be necessary.
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Avoid Confusing Eczema With Other Diseases
Eczema is recognizable primarily by its itchy red patches. This sign is the easiest one to identify. But be careful other diseases have identical or very similar symptoms!
Below are the diseases most commonly mistaken for eczema: Some are contagious, unlike eczema. So, by identifying them properly, you are helping to stop the spread.
Scalp Eczema: The Fix
Its all about that poo: shampoo, of course! You want a fragrance-free, sulfate-free, hypoallergenic formula to minimize bothersome ingredients on the scalp. Free & Clear and Exederm shampoos fit the bill: Neither contains dyes, formaldehyde, parabens, or cocamidopropyl betaine, all of which can cause inflammation.
If switching shampoos doesnt help, consider cortisone in a foam or solution base these work well for hairy areas since theyre less messy than creams and ointments, says Dr. Fusco. For an extreme case of flakes, however, you may need a prescription cortisone oil before bed, apply it all over your scalp and sleep in a shower cap to help melt away the buildup.
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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.
Why Are Black People So Prone To The Disease
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason, but Dr. Okereke believes that it has to do with darker skin naturally being more prone to dryness.
“I think ceramides play a large role here,” she explains. “Ceramides are fat-derived structures in the skin that help create a barrier to lock in moisture in the skin therefore preventing dryness and irritation. Darker skin tones have lower ceramide levels, thus leaving us with drier skin that is more susceptible to environmental triggers, such as pollutants that can ultimately cause eczema.”
That said, regardless whether you’ve been diagnosed with eczema or not, using a daily lotion rich in ceramides is key to keeping the skin balanced.
We’re fans of CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, which includes three essential ceramides, as well as hyaluronic acid in the tried-and-true formula.
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Whats New About Eczema Treatment
Were starting to understand more about the disease and the multiple factors involved, including the immune systems role. The FDA recently approved its first systemic, targeted medicine that treats the immune system abnormality in eczema. Its been a long time coming and exciting to have as an option. And thats not the only part that has changed recently. We used to target just the inflammation. Now we are looking at a multi-disciplinary approach for patients. When we address all of the factors together, patients have more success.
Importance Of Eczema Treatment
There is growing evidence that allergens introduced into the body through the skin can lead to the later development of food allergy, asthma and hay fever. Aggressively treating eczema in children and taking steps to restore normal skin barrier function may lower the risk of future development of these conditions.
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Age Can Impact Blood Vessels And Circulation
The skin is made of layers of different cells that rely on a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients delivered by the blood . Older people are more likely to have conditions like varicose veins which restrict blood flow to the skin. Cardiovascular disease has been associated, in studies, with atopic dermatitis/eczema. Stasis dermatitis or varicose eczema affects up to 20% of those over 70, usually affecting the lower legs.
One-third of all adults are affected by varicose veins. This is a condition that worsens with age and weakens the walls of the veins in the legs, causing them to swell and bulge. Fluid can leak into the surrounding tissue and cause swelling and inflammation. Skin irritation and itching can occur as the immune system responds, producing an eczema reaction. Women are more likely to be affected. Being overweight puts additional pressure on the veins, as does standing for long periods, smoking, and of course pregnancy.
What Is The Root Cause Of Eczema
In leaky gut syndrome, fragments of protein and bacteria reach the sensitive immune centers in the gut, triggering the immune system to produce antibodies to mount a reaction against these foods. Leaky gut syndrome is associated with food allergies, food sensitivities, and other autoimmune diseases, such as eczema.
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Dealing With Eczema Flares
Eczema is a condition of the skin that erupts in the different parts of the body. As true as the phrase, “Prevention is better than cure” holds, once you have acquired the condition, dealing with it becomes the prime matter of concern. Sometimes, it is the little things in life that help us overcome an ailment. To begin with, you can prevent the flares from doubling up by avoiding friction or rough contact with the area. Try not to scratch or rub the patch of skin in and around the lesions. Avoid wearing clothes that prevent your skin from breathing. Instead, choose light and skin-friendly materials. Observe your cosmetic products and toiletries for a while. If you have recently switched to a new brand or is allergic to a particular skin care product or lotion, identify them and remove them from your cupboard immediately. This method rules out the first cause of most skin irritations.
Eczema is a relatively chronic skin condition that stays for a while until the visible symptoms subside. You may experience flare-ups at different points in time, but it takes a while to leave the body completely. Proper treatment using prescribed medications can help in curbing the ailment. Overall, a good approach to hygiene, skin care routine and a healthy diet can keep eczema at bay.
Hence, once you feel that you have this condition, medical attention is required to have a proper diagnosis.