What You Need To Know About Adult Eczema
How to treat the skin condition thats increasing in adults 60+
During our hot, muggy, undeniably strange summer, Id been sweating and scratching. Finally, unable to sleep because of the itching, I masked up and went to the dermatologist. The diagnosis? Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis.
What? I thought only babies got eczema. Actually, according to the National Eczema Association, about 16.5 million American adults have the skin condition. And new onset atopic dermatitis in adults 60+ is increasing, with the peak age for adult onset between 51 and 64. Studies show that some people with adult eczema actually had eczema in childhood, thought theyd outgrown it and had no further symptoms until becoming middle-aged or older.
- Soaps. Never use bubble bath. It can cause a major flare-up.
- Pollens. Keep your child from lying on the grass during grass pollen season.
- Animals. Avoid any animals that make the rash worse.
- Foods. If certain foods cause severe itching , avoid them.
- Wool. Avoid wool fibers and clothes made of other scratchy, rough materials.
- Dry Air. Use a humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
- Herpes Virus Infection . Keep your child away from anyone with fever blisters . The herpes virus can cause a serious skin infection in children with eczema.
- Eczema is not caused by laundry soap you use to wash clothing.
Adult Eczema In Older People Of Color
Early diagnosis and treatment are particularly important in older people of color. Because of decreased skin barrier function, Alexis points out, these patients tend to have more severe flare-ups, with intense itching and poorer quality of life. Patients with darker skin experience more pigmentary changes, with skin thickened from chronic scratching appearing darker than surrounding skin. Prolonged use of topical steroids can lead to hypopigmentation .
Atopic dermatitis can have different visual manifestations and immunologic patterns across the spectrum of racial tones, explains Alexis. Rather than fire-engine red, lesions and rashes in richly pigmented skin appear grayish, violet or reddish brown. In people of African descent, the morphology may be multiple isolated follicular papules or prurigo nodularis, with the presence of firm, raised, intensely itchy bumps.
Diffuse areas of dry skin and dark undereye circles are more often seen in African American patients with atopic dermatitis than in those with lighter skin.
Atopic dermatitis has unique immunologic characteristics in Asians, who often experience clearly demarcated lesions, prominent scaling, increased thickening and a leathery feel to skin .
Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Lessen The Chance Of Flare
Yes. Besides following the treatment plan that your health care provider or dermatologist gives you, you can avoid triggers or irritants that make your symptoms worse.
|Things that may cause a flare-up:||What you can do:|
|Too much bathing, showering, or swimming||Limit your time in the water. Pat your skin dry and apply moisturizing lotion frequently. Try to bathe in cooler water as possible, not scalding hot water.
Apply moisturizer frequently, including immediately after a bath or shower. Its important that your skin is still partially wet to help maximize hydration.
|Sweating too much|
|Avoid being outside during extreme weather conditions.|
|Harsh soaps, cosmetics, perfume||Use mild soap and and avoid scented products . If you use make-up make sure its hypoallergenic.|
|Wool or man-made fabrics||Avoid wearing clothing that irritates your skin. Stick with fabrics such as cotton.|
|Cleaning products||Use mild, chemical-free cleaning products. Wear gloves when using strong cleaning products.|
If your symptoms dont get better with treatment and the above suggestions, your health care provider might do allergy testing to see if something else is causing your eczema. Some people with eczema have allergies to things such as dust, pollen and pets.
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Massage And Physical Therapy
One clinical study looking at essential oils for treating children with eczema found that massage with and without essential oils helped improve dry, scaly skin lesions. Children with this scaly, itchy skin problem seem to have less redness, scaling, and other symptoms if they had massage between flares. DO NOT use massage when skin is actively inflamed. The essential oils most often chosen by the mothers in the study included sweet marjoram, frankincense, German chamomile, myrrh, thyme, benzoin, spike lavender, and Litsea cubeba.
In one clinical study, participating in regular group sporting activities for 3 weeks improved eczema symptoms. Exercise may improve symptoms because of the positive impact it has on emotions. Sports should be avoided during the worst stages of an outbreak.
Climatotherapy uses sunlight and water as therapy. The Dead Sea in Israel is known for its healing properties, and many people with eczema go there to sit in the sun and swim in the water. Scientific studies support the benefits. One clinical study looked at the experience of more than 1,500 people with eczema and found that 95% of skin was cleared in people who had stayed at the Dead Sea longer than 4 weeks.
Reasons Why Eczema Can Develop Later In Life
Eczema can develop later in life, or indeed, at any age. As if ageing hasnt got enough drawbacks, it may seem like adding insult to injury to get what may be considered an infants skin rash! In this article, I give 5 reasons why eczema can develop later in life.
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Control Inflammation Under Your Skin
If your eczema is mild, your dermatologist may advise you to use hydrocortisone or topical ointment made with corticosteroids to help reduce symptoms.
If youre experiencing an infection from a flare-up, then you may also receive a prescription for antibiotics.
In moderate to severe cases, stronger prescription steroid ointments may be needed to prevent flares and calm inflammation under the skin.
Additional therapies for chronic eczema include:
- Immunomodulators medicines that suppress the activity of your immune system
- Biologics medicines made from substances that naturally occur
- UV light or phototherapy
Causes Of Atopic Eczema
The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but it’s clear it is not down to one single thing.
Atopic eczema often occurs in people who get allergies. “Atopic” means sensitivity to allergens.
The symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers, such as soaps, detergents, stress and the weather.
Sometimes food allergies can play a part, especially in young children with severe eczema.
You may be asked to keep a food diary to try to determine whether a specific food makes your symptoms worse.
Allergy tests are not usually needed, although they’re sometimes helpful in identifying whether a food allergy may be triggering symptoms.
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Avoid Environmental And Emotional Triggers
Eczema flare-ups can be brought on by environmental and emotional triggers. Make note of when your eczema symptoms start to appear. Do symptoms usually increase during the Spring and Fall when seasonal allergies are at their peak? Are there certain fabric materials that make you itch?
Self-knowledge and awareness will help you identify your own set of triggers so you can avoid them, if possible.
Do I Need An Autism Diagnosis
Some adults may question whether they need a diagnosis later in life. Some people self-identify as autistic without receiving an official diagnosis. Its a personal decision. What can be helpful in receiving the label is access to supports and services that may not be available without a diagnosis, i.e. an income support program that provides additional income if mental health issues prevent being able to work full time. Maybe you need a job coach, a support person to look in on you a couple of times a week, specialized mental health services, or supports in the workplace. A diagnosis can also provide peace of mind and validation that indeed, you do have ASD.
Self-diagnosis in the adult autism community is widely accepted. You can join a support group or get together with other ASD adults without a formal diagnosis. Pursuing a diagnosis can be expensive as most health plans wont cover the cost and it can be difficult to find a professional who is adept at providing an adult diagnosis.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema On Nipples
People with nipple eczema develop a red, itchy, scaly rash on their nipples and areola. Your areola is part of your breast anatomy. Its the dark circle of skin around your nipple. Nipple eczema can flare up or get worse every now and then. It may get better or even go away for a few weeks, months or years and then come back. Signs of nipple eczema include:
- Dry, inflamed skin around your nipple.
- Itchy, painful, burning or sensitive skin.
- Rash that has brown, red or gray patches or spots.
- Scaly, dry skin that may peel, crust or scab over.
- Small bumps that ooze fluid.
Why Developing Eczema As An Adult Is Unusual
May 27, 2021// by Dr. Robert Paull, MD//
If your skins been acting unusually over the last 14 months maybe its been especially dry at times or prone to breakouts, particularly across the lower half of your face it could be because our complexions have been acclimating to spending so much time inside.
Or it could be something else entirely: adult eczema.
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Is There A Cure For Eczema
Eczema is a chronic condition, and there is no cure currently. It is more common in children, and symptoms often lessen in adulthood.
However, adults can also develop eczema, which is often more severe than childhood forms of the condition. Adult eczema typically involves periods of flare-ups when it is worse and periods of remission when it gets better.
Because doctors cannot cure the condition, treatments focus on a person managing symptoms. Doctors can also recommend that someone with eczema make changes to their everyday life to avoid key triggers.
Symptoms Of Atopic Eczema
Atopic eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked and sore.
Some people only have small patches of dry skin, but others may experience widespread inflamed skin all over the body.
Inflamed skin can become red on lighter skin, and darker brown, purple or grey on darker skin. This can also be more difficult to see on darker skin.
Although atopic eczema can affect any part of the body, it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp in children.
People with atopic eczema usually have periods when symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods when symptoms become more severe .
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When Should You See A Doctor
Usually, eczema can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications. But, if you cannot identify your triggers and want an expert diagnosis, you may consult a doctor. The first thing your dermatologist will want to do is assess your eczema and make a diagnosis of where it comes from, adds Dr. Haley. For example, your doctor may diagnose ear eczema by physical examination and analyzing current symptoms and family history. In some cases, you may need to take a skin test to figure out the allergens and triggers.
If over-the-counter treatments are not showing any results on eczema, you may have to seek medical help.
Ear eczema is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry and scaly skin, redness, blisters, and swelling. Multiple factors such as genetics and exposure to environmental pollutants contribute to the development of eczema in the ear lobes, eardrums, and ear canal. While there is currently no cure for eczema, you can resort to home remedies and medical treatments for symptom management. For example, keeping your ears clean and using medicated creams and medications can reduce dry skin and itching. In addition, avoiding triggers and staying hydrated can minimize eczema flare-ups.
What Can I Expect If Ive Been Diagnosed With Eczema
Nearly half of children with eczema will outgrow the condition or experience great improvement by the time they reach puberty. Others will continue to have some form of the disease. For adults with eczema, the disease can be generally well-managed with good skin care and treatment, although flare-ups of symptoms can occur throughout life.
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How Common Is Eczema
Eczema affects up to 15 million Americans. Infants are prone to eczema and 10% to 20% will have it. However, nearly half outgrow the condition or have significant improvement as they get older.
Eczema affects males and females equally and is more common in people who have a personal or family history of asthma, environmental allergies and/or food allergies.
Natural Remedies For Eczema
If you search online, youll be flooded with natural remedies for eczema. Its important to note that complementary and alternative therapies for eczema are largely unproven. While the research is mixed, many eczema sufferers swear by their natural treatments.
If youre interested in natural remedies for eczema, its best to speak with a naturopathic doctor. A naturopathic doctor will help you pinpoint the cause of your eczema by looking at your vitamin D intake, your overall gut health and any food sensitivities you might have.
In a study discussing the benefits of various natural remedies for eczema, omega-3 supplements and probiotics were found to show great promise. The study concluded that a dietary intake of omega-3 supplements may have therapeutic effects on eczema symptoms. In addition, probiotics supplements may also help eczema by regulating the immune system and preventing the inflammation that comes with it.
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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.
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03/02/2013 by Ruth Holroyd
Youve all seen the statistics about the rise in the number people with allergies but we tend think of young children as the most at risk. However there are a growing number of people who find that after a completely allergy free life they suddenly, in their late 70s, 80s or even 90s develop allergies, eczema, psoriasis or asthma.
Why is this happening? There could be a number of reasons. The slowing down of life, less movement and exercise, giving up work, perhaps losing your life partner which will cause stress and anxiety, maybe with age the body just loses some function or ability to recognise foods Whatever it is it can be a bit of a shock when suddenly you cant eat your favourite sandwich filler, can no longer rely on an egg for a quick easy meal or cannot easily order meals-on-wheels because they all contain something that makes you sick.
They probably cant even read the tiny print on food labels to tell whats suitable anyway! If Im honest I struggle myself sometimes.
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Eczema In Teens And Adults
While most people outgrow atopic dermatitis by the time they are teenagers, it can persist into adulthood. For others, childhood eczema that had cleared up years prior may reemerge.
Eczema can also develop for the very first time in adulthood this is called adult-onset eczema. Some of the prime years for developing adult-onset eczema include middle age and older. Skin naturally becomes drier as people get older, leaving it more vulnerable.
In teens and adults, eczema classically involves:
- Creases of the elbows
- Around the eyes or on the eyelids
Eczema most often affects areas exposed to allergens or irritants, as well as flexural areas that are easily scratched. Adults may find their skin becomes thickened and leathery-looking in areas affected by the rash.
There are other skin conditions that look very similar to eczema, including contact dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea. It’s important to see a healthcare provider if you develop rash symptoms for the first time as an adult to ensure you get the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Can You Get Eczema As An Adult
Adults can get any type of eczema, including atopic dermatitis , which many people consider a childhood disease.
When AD begins after your 18th birthday, dermatologists call it adult-onset atopic dermatitis. Youd receive this diagnosis if you never had AD before. A peak time for developing adult-onset AD is in your 50s.
AD and the eyes
In adults, atopic dermatitis often develops on skin around the eyes.
Some adults who have AD had it as a child. Its possible for AD to go away in childhood and return years later. When the AD returns, its often much milder.
For some children, the AD never goes away, so its a lifelong disease. This happened to Peter Moffat, the award-winning writer of the British TV series Criminal Justice. You can read about how AD affects his life by going to: Adults with eczema too often suffer in silence
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