How Is Eczema Treated
While there is no cure, eczema is treatable. Steroid creams are the most common prescription treatment that your doctor may recommend during eczema flare-ups.
Here is some general advice for managing your eczema:
- Protect your skin by applying a moisturiser or emollient at least twice every day, including during periods between flare-ups when your eczema is under control. Thick moisturisers or ointments are best.
- Wet dressings can help cool, protect and rehydrate your skin.
- Treat flare-ups by using ointments or creams prescribed by your doctor. You may need intermittent courses of steroid creams. Your doctor will recommend weak steroids for eczema affecting the face, underarms and groin areas, and stronger steroids for other areas. Be careful to use the cream exactly as your doctor recommended. You dont need to worry about side effects of steroid creams, as these are rare in both children and adults, as long as you use them as prescribed.
- Control itching by using antihistamines, a cold compress for the affected area and trying not to scratch. Sometimes your doctor may also recommend steroid creams to control the itching, used less intensively than during a flare-up.
- Control infection by using antibiotics to treat infection, if prescribed by your doctor.
Some dermatologists might also use ultraviolet light and some strong oral medicines to reduce inflammation if your eczema is severe.
You may find that your eczema improves as you get older.
How Seborrheic Dermatitis Is Diagnosed
A skin specialist called a dermatologist or another healthcare provider will review your medical history and perform a physical exam. They can usually diagnose seborrheic dermatitis based on its appearance.
There are other common skin conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those seen in seborrheic dermatitis. These include:
- Psoriasis: A skin condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, causing patches anywhere on the body
- Rosacea, a chronic condition characterized by redness and bumps on the face
- Allergic contact dermatitis, or an allergic skin reaction after coming in contact with an allergen
- Tinea versicolor fungal infection, which is caused by yeast in the Malassezia family
- Pityriasis rosea, an itchy round or oval-shaped rash that typically resolves on its own
Less commonly, a widespread rash that can mimic the patches of seborrheic dermatitis may be due to secondary syphilis. This is a worsening of primary syphilis, the sexually transmitted bacterial infection that usually begins as a sore at the infection site.
Facial seborrheic dermatitis may also resemble the classic “butterfly rash” seen in systemic lupus erythematosus , a disorder in which the immune system damages connective tissues and the lining of blood vessels throughout the body.
To differentiate among these conditions, a dermatologist may perform the following tests:
Having A Good Skin Care Routine
Washing and moisturizing your skin each day can help control eczema. People with eczema have an imbalance in the top layer of skin, which causes dry skin. Cleansing and moisturizing regularly can help trap moisture in the skin and reduce the frequency of flare-ups.
Cleanse your skin with a gentle face wash. Do not use soap because it can irritate your skin. Use cool water rather than hot water so you don’t dry out your skin. After you wash your face, gently pat your skin dry with a towel, and then hydrate your skin with a fragrance- and preservative-free cream or ointment. Do not use lotions because they have a high water content and evaporate quickly, which can make dry skin worse. Apply a moisturizer at least twice a day, and put it on right after washing your face. Some studies show that moisturizers containing glycyrrhetinic acid, urea, glycerol or oats work better than other ingredients for eczema. Your pharmacist can recommend an eczema face wash, cream or ointment.
It’s also important to avoid itching or rubbing affected skin. Scratching can break the skin, which can make eczema worse and may lead to infection. Use these tips to help keep babies and children with eczema from itching their skin:
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Skin Care For Facial Eczema
Moisturize. The best way to keep your skin from drying out is with thick creams and ointments , not with thinner lotions. The best time to do this is right after you wash your face. If ointments are too greasy for your face, try using them only at night.
Clean gently. Soap can irritate your skin, but washing with water alone may not be enough, especially if your face is oily. Use a gentle non-soap cleanser or a medical emollient instead. Pat dry with a soft towel.
Watch the temperature. Use only cool — not hot — water on your face, and for as little time as possible.
Skip makeup.Donât use cosmetics on irritated skin.
Can Eczema Happen In Adulthood
Eczema can and does occur in adults. Sometimes, eczema starts in childhood, clears up for a while, and then returns later on. In other people, it may suddenly appear for the first time as an adult.
According to the National Eczema Association, 1 in 4 adults report that their symptoms first appeared in adulthood. Multiracial or white adults have the highest prevalence of adult-onset eczema, although studies vary on the specific percentages.
Overall, approximately 10 percent of adults in the United States are living with eczema.
Adults can get any type of eczema, including atopic dermatitis. Certain types of eczema are more common in adults. These can include:
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Be Careful About What You Are Exposed To
What you put in the body has a direct reaction to how it may affect you. If you see signs of eczema, it would be wise to avoid certain foods that often cause allergies in people, like peanuts, soy, and seafood.
Environmental factors can also have a direct impact on your skin. Too much heat or sunlight might make your skin irritated and flare up the symptoms.
Similarities Between Ad In Adults And Children
While AD tends to change how it looks and where it appears as we age, there are still many similarities between having AD as an adult and as a child.
The list of similarities often includes that AD can:
Appear anywhere on the skin
Be intensely itchy
Cause sleep loss due to the itch
Make you feel depressed, anxious, or both
Lead to skin infections
ImageUsed with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol 2001 44:89-93.
ReferencesEichenfield LF, Tom WL, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Section 1. Diagnosis and assessment of atopic dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 70:338-51.
Ellis CN, Mancini AJ, et al. Understanding and managing atopic dermatitis in adult patients. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2012 31:S18-22
Kanwar AJ. Adult-onset atopic dermatitis. Indian J Dermatol. 2016 Nov-Dec 61: 6623.
Kim JP, Chao LX, et al. Persistence of atopic dermatitis : A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 75:681-7.
Silverberg JI, Vakharia PP, et al. Phenotypical differences of childhood- and adult-onset atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2017 Nov 10. pii: S2213-219830757-2.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
The American Academy of Dermatology gratefully acknowledges the support from Leo Pharma, Inc., and Sanofi and Regeneron.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Eczema
There are steps you can take that may prevent eczema outbreaks:
- Establish a skin care routine, and follow your healthcare professionals recommendations for keeping your skin healthy.
- Wear gloves for jobs where you have to put your hands in water. Wear cotton gloves under plastic gloves to absorb sweat, and wear gloves outside, especially during the winter months.
- Use mild soap for your bath or shower, and pat your skin dry instead of rubbing. Apply a moisturizing cream or ointment immediately after drying your skin to help seal in the moisture. Reapply cream or ointment two to three times a day.
- Take baths or showers with tepid rather than hot.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Water helps to keep your skin moist.
- Try to avoid getting too hot and sweaty.
- Wear loose clothes made of cotton and other natural materials. Wash new clothing before wearing. Avoid wool.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature and humidity.
- Learn to recognize stress in your life and how to manage it. Regular aerobic exercise, hobbies and stress-management techniques, such as meditation or yoga, might help.
- Limit your exposure to known irritants and allergens.
- Avoid scratching or rubbing itchy areas of skin.
Causes Of Atopic Eczema
The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but its clear it is not down to one single thing.
Atopic eczema often occurs in people who get allergies. Atopic means sensitivity to allergens.
It can run in families, and often develops alongside other conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.
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 theyre sometimes helpful in identifying whether a food allergy may be triggering symptoms.
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Causes Of Scabies And Eczema
Symptoms of scabies and eczema can be similar, but the treatments are different. Eczema is a skin condition that affects adults and children and starts in adolescence. It typically causes red patches on the skin that may itch.
Although both conditions are skin ailments, scabies is contagious, while eczema is not. Eczema is the result of genetic and environmental factors, while scabies is the result of an infestation of microscopic mites.
If you or someone you know suffers from scabies or eczema, you should see a doctor for treatment. Treatment can include medication, creams, or other skin care products.
In addition, you should be careful about sharing clothing, towels, or bedding with someone who has scabies.
Eczema And Ringworm: Whats The Difference
The two conditions are considered skin disorders, but they are not the same. Eczema is a condition that causes dry, scaly patches on the skin. Ringworm on the other hand causes itchy, red patches with hair loss between them.
Approximately one in ten people will suffer from eczema at some point in their lives. Eczema is more common among children under the age of 18. About nine million children under 18 in the United States suffer from the condition.
About one-third of these children suffer from moderate to severe forms of the condition. In the past decade, the percentage of children with eczema has increased from 8% to about 12%.
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Oatmeal For Eczema Cure
The anti-inflammatory, anti-irritating and soothing properties of oatmeal make it effective for treating eczema and its symptoms. It helps to reduce itching and pain associated with eczema. Oatmeal also contains saponins which aid the natural cleansing of skin pores.
Oatmeal is also a great option for a bath. It works best for treating eczema when you finely grind it. You can also refer to finely ground oatmeal as colloidal oatmeal.
- Gently dry your skin using a clean towel.
- You can rub a mild moisturizer on your skin afterward.
- Alternatively, mix 2 tablespoons of colloidal oatmeal and 1 tablespoon of milk in a bowl to make a thick paste.
- Apply the paste on affected areas of your skin, rubbing gently for 1-2 minutes.
- Leave paste for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off using cool water.
- Repeat either of these home remedies for eczema 3-4 times every week till you achieve desired results.
What Causes Dermatitis On The Face
Atopic dermatitis is a genetic disease that is linked to a compromised skin barrier function and an immune disorder. Triggers vary from person to person but can include climate and pollution, stress or sensitivity to allergens like dust.Other external aggressors include harsh facial cleansers, household products like soap or synthetic fibers, and certain make-up products. One person’s eczema could be triggered by a fragranced product, but the same product may not cause a reaction for somebody else. This is why its important to speak to a doctor about your facial eczema. The symptoms of atopic dermatitis are also its triggers. When your face feels itchy, it is very tempting to scratch it. This causes a bacteria called staphylococcus aureus to multiply and infect the skin, and this infection causes inflammation and itching, which worsens the condition. This vicious cycle is known as the Atopic Skin Cycle you can find out more about it in Understanding Atopic Dermatitis.
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Talk About Your Skin And Explain It
Instead of hiding your skin and avoiding other people, talk openly about your eczema. Explain what happens when you have a flare-up and remind everyone that its not a contagious disease. Ignorance and fear dont help anyone.
“When people ask me, I tell them eczema comes out as itchy red patches on my skin. I stay simple.“Jules, 22 years old
Will Your Child Have Eczema
The predisposition to eczema is an extended family situation. Even if neither parents have the condition, but a grandparent, aunt, cousin or nephew have one of the atopic conditions, there is a possibility that a child of that family will get eczema. Atopy affects one in three people. That puts a lot of people in the target area.
But what is the situation if you, as a parent, have one of the atopic diseases ? In his book, Your Child with Eczema, Dr David Atherton explains:
If one parent has or has had one of these conditions, the childs risk of developing atopic eczema will be about double that of a child whose parents have never had any of these. If both parents have or have had any atopic disease, the risk of eczema in their child is doubled again. Having a brother or sister as well as one parent with atopic disease does not appear to increase the risk any further. If parents, or brothers or sisters have a history of eczema itself, rather than just asthma or hayfever, then the risk is increased even further.
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Eczema Affects Everyone Differently
Eczema affects everyone differently. One persons triggers may not be the same as anothers. You might experience eczema symptoms at certain times of the year or on different areas of your body.
Symptoms of eczema are as varied as the potential environmental factors that can lead to irritation: everyone is affected by this skin disease differently. Regardless of vaccine status, Covid-19 is also a potential trigger for eczema, possibly due to the stress of recovering from the virus, or the bodys heightened immune system response to the virus.
Eczema On The Face And Neck Poses Special Treatment Issues
If were talking about topical treatments such as creams or ointments that we are applying to eczema, we do have to be mindful that the skin on the face and neck is much thinner than the skin on other parts of the body, Wan says.
Potent topical corticosteroids can cause skin thinning if applied too frequently and for a long time without a break, according to the National Eczema Association. In some people, topical steroids used on the face can cause tiny bumps and acne.
For these reasons, We often have to limit the duration of time that we might be able to use stronger corticosteroid creams or ointments, Wan says. For example, a steroid cream that we could use for two weeks on one part of the body, we might only use for a week on the face.
If the eczema on the face and neck is a chronic issue, a dermatologist is likely to prescribe steroid-sparing treatments. These are not the typical steroid-based creams and ointments and so they can be more safely used on the face and neck in a continuous manner, she says.
The nonsteroid cream ruxolitinib , for instance, is a relatively new option for adults and children 12 and up with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.
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Symptoms Of Eczema On The Face And Neck May Be Especially Severe Because Of Increased Exposure To Allergens And Other Irritants
A lot of symptoms of eczema on the face and neck can be similar to those of eczema on other parts of the body theres still often a lot of itch and it may be scaly, says Wan. But for some people, the symptoms of eczema on the face and neck can be particularly severe, which could be due to a combination of external triggers.
Unlike other parts of the body, the head and neck are always exposed to the environment, which may contain allergens that could potentially irritate the skin, says Wan. These are also areas of the body where a person might use more products lotions, hair products, makeup, etc. which can also irritate the skin.
Types Of Facial Eczema
Eczema is actually a term for a group of conditions that cause itchy, red, and inflamed skin rashes. The types of eczema that are most likely to appear on the face are:
- Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common type of eczema overall. It is very common on the cheeks and chin, especially in infants. It can also appear around the eyes, on the eyelids, and around the lips. It can, however, occur anywhere on the face or the rest of the body.
- Contact dermatitis: This is also a common type of eczema. It is a skin reaction to a specific irritant. On the face, it is usually found around the eyes, the hairline, and in areas that contact perfumes and jewelry, like the neck and earlobes. But, like atopic dermatitis, this type of eczema can occur anywhere.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: This type most often occurs around the hairline, in the eyebrows, around the ears, and on the sides of the nose.
- Small blisters that may weep or ooze
- Cracked skin that may bleed
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The skin may also feel sore and raw during a flare-up. If eczema lasts long, the skin can eventually become thick, discolored, or scarred.
Nearly 30 million people live with eczema in the United States, and it impacts everyone differently. Some people may experience minor flare-ups, where their skin becomes mildly itchy. For others, flare-ups involve severe itching, dryness or oozing, and bleeding.
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