Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What treatment is best for me?
- Should I use a steroid cream or ointment?
- What are the side effects from the steroid cream or ointment?
- Do I need to take any other medicines?
- What is the best way to prevent flare-ups from eczema and atopic dermatitis?
- Is there a certain type of soap I should use?
- My child has eczema. What kind of moisturizer is best for him/her?
- How can I keep my child from scratching the rash?
- I have eczema. Will my children have it?
- How should I care for the rash if I have a flare-up?
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Eczema
The signs of eczema :
- are mainly dry, itchy skin. Because it is so itchy, it is often called “the itch that rashes.”
- include redness, scales, and bumps that can leak fluid and then crust over
- tend to come and go. When they get worse, it is called a flare-up.
- may be more noticeable at night
Symptoms can vary:
- Infants younger than 1 year old usually have the eczema rash on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp. It may spread to the knees, elbows, and trunk .
- Older kids and teens usually get the rash in the bends of the elbows, behind the knees, on the neck, or on the inner wrists and ankles. Their skin is often scalier and drier than when the eczema first began. It also can be thicker, darker, or scarred from all the scratching .
Deeply Moisturize Dry Cracked Skin
Cracks and open areas are one of the biggest problems when you have weeping eczema. Staph A bacteria cause the most damage when they get underneath the skins tissues. When your skin cracks, it will draw in more bacteria, and it can also set-off alarm bells with your immune system!
It goes without saying that when you have weeping skin, it is NOT the time to do a moisturizer withdrawal
A moisturizer withdrawal wont be effective if you have a bacterial problem. It can just make things worse! Save that for later, when your skin is no longer cracked and under attack by bacteria.
For now, your skin needs all the moisture it can get!
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Weeping Eczema After Stopping Steroid Creams
While primary and secondary weeping eczema are well-known in the medical world, some people can still experience weeping eczema when they first stop using steroid creams. Why is this?
One doctor found that the steroids in the cream itself, indirectly kills Staph A, making it near to impossible for Staph A to colonize the area where you put your steroid cream.
In other words, when you use a steroid cream, the bacteria doesnt like it and leaves the area alone. So when you stop using it the bacteria comes back, sets up camp, and you experience weeping! This is especially the case if you have open eczema areas, where a higher concentration of Staph is likely to be found.
A Final Word On Managing Eczema In The Long Term
While some people, especially children, may grow out of eczema as they age, its more important to look at this as a chronic skin condition that has no cure. That is not a pessimistic view, rather one that can help you take control, manage flare-ups, and stick to a healthy, gentle skin routine that benefits your overall wellness.
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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.
Eczema Coping Tips Good Hygiene
Skin affected by eczema is more vulnerable to a range of infections, including impetigo, cold sores and warts. The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus may cause a secondary infection of impetigo, and possibly contribute to the symptoms of eczema.Suggestions for washing include:
- Take lukewarm baths or showers, and avoid really hot showers.
- Dont use ordinary soap, as the ingredients may aggravate your eczema. Wash your body with warm water alone. For armpits and groin, use soap-free products, such as sorbolene cream.
- Bath oils can help to moisturise your skin while bathing.
- When towelling dry, pat rather than rub your skin.
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What Does Eczema Look Like
Itching and rash is a common sign of skin rash. So sometimes, it becomes challenging to identify eczema because of the common symptoms. So let us note the specific characteristics of dermatitis or eczema.
- Eczema starts with intense itching.
- Red bumps are appearing in different sizes.
- Individuals who have nummular eczema develop coin shape round spots on the affected area with itching.
- Sometimes eczema can develop in round or oval shape and clusters of tiny pimples or patches with a thin scale.
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.
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Remove The Bacteria Crusts
Many people tend to mix up normal crusts with bacteria crusts. So let me tell you the biggest difference.
A normal crust is called an eschar, and it is hardened, flat and doesnt have much weeping. Much like the ones you got when you were young and accidentally scraped your knee.
A bacteria crust, however, is weeping to the touch, is full of yellow or milky substance, puffy, and sometimes red. These are the signs of bacteria colonization!
Bacterial crusts are like the bacterias houses, and should always be removed with a gentle soap or cleanser like saline solution.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Eczema
- How can you tell that I have eczema?
- If I dont have eczema, what other skin condition might I have?
- Is there a specific brand of moisturizer that you recommend?
- Is there a prescription cream that you can prescribe?
- How often should I see a dermatologist regarding my eczema?
- What soaps, lotions, makeup, etc. should I avoid?
- What medications do you recommend?
- What at-home treatments do you recommend?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Eczema is very normal, very common, and very, very uncomfortable. It can affect your quality of life. At its worse it can keep you from sleeping, distract you and make you feel self-conscious in public. See your dermatologist or other healthcare provider as soon as you start to see signs of it. Explore at-home remedies and prescribed treatments.
Youre not alone! 15% to 20% of people experience eczema or another type of dermatitis at some point in their lives.
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Surprising Ways Parents Make Eczema Itchier
Some itch-relieving techniques that people use can make eczema itchier. To prevent this, dermatologists recommend that you avoid:
Telling your child to stop scratching: This rarely works and can leave your child feeling stressed. Stress can cause eczema to flare.
Using anti-itch products: This may seem strange, but anti-itch products often fail to relieve itchy eczema. To make matters worse, some contain ingredients that can cause eczema to flare. Only use an anti-itch product if your childs dermatologist recommends one.
Control The Heat And Humidity
While eczema itself can sometimes be dry, this skin condition is typically worsened by heat and humidity. Consider keeping your home a bit drier and cooler as a way of managing and preventing flare-ups.
Some people, however, experience flare-ups during the dry winter months. If this is you, using a humidifier can help ease your eczema symptoms.
Body heat can also play a role. Wearing breathable fabrics such as cotton can help heat escape from your body. Taking cool showers after workouts may also help.
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Topical Steroids To Reduce Inflammation
A topical steroid is a steroid cream or ointment that is applied to your skin. In discoid eczema, topical steroids are applied to the skin patches to reduce inflammation. Ointments tend to be better than creams because they tend to hold water in your skin better and form a better protective barrier for your skin.
Do not use the steroid cream or ointment on normal skin. Also, steroids should only be used when discoid eczema has flared up. They should not be used in between times to keep discoid eczema away. This is because long-term steroid cream use can have some effects on your skin, including thinning of your skin. See the separate leaflet called Topical Steroids for Eczema for more details.
Sometimes wet wrap treatments are used with a topical steroid to treat discoid eczema. Your skin is made wet first with lukewarm water so that it is well hydrated. Then, a steroid ointment is applied to the affected areas of skin. Next, damp pyjamas or bandaging are used to seal in the steroid ointment for around one hour. However, do not try such treatments unless advised by your doctor.
In severe cases, steroid tablets taken by mouth or given by injection may be needed to treat discoid eczema.
Note: when using both an emollient and a topical steroid, you should apply the emollient first. Wait 10-15 minutes after applying an emollient before applying a topical steroid. That is, the emollient should be allowed to absorb before a steroid is applied.
How To Use Emollients
Use your emollient all the time, even if you are not experiencing symptoms as they can help limit the return of your condition. Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school.
To apply the emollient:
- use a large amount
- don’t rub it in, smooth it into the skin in the same direction that the hair grows instead
- for very dry skin, apply the emollient every two to three hours
- after a bath or shower, gently dry the skin and then immediately apply the emollient while the skin is still moist
If you are exposed to irritants at work, make sure you apply emollients regularly during and after work.
Don’t share emollients with other people.
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What Is The Prognosis Of Eczema
Most of the patients with eczema do quite well under the care of a dermatologist who has made an accurate diagnosis. Occasionally, eczema can become infected by microorganisms, such a staphylococci or herpes simplex virus. This is because the normal barrier function of the skin has been damaged by the inflammatory condition. In this situation, the infection could be contagious and require antibiotics treatment. An important signal would be the development of fever and pustules, plus pain at the site of the rash.
Does Eczema Go Away On Its Own
Eczema can start at any time during your life and can range from moderate to severe, notes the NEA. Although the skin condition is common, learning you have it can be truly upsetting. There are several types of eczema, ranging from atopic dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis to contact dermatitis and more.
When it comes to atopic dermatitis, the disease is chronic. Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, an associate professor of dermatology at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC, notes that a chronic disease means that symptoms stick around for six months or more but they can also last a lifetime. Diagnosing a patient with eczema is a difficult conversation to have, he says.
While symptoms of contact dermatitis disappear once you avoid the offending irritant, its tough to say when atopic dermatitis will go away or if it ever will. If your child has atopic dermatitis , theres a chance that the disease will calm down considerably by the time theyre an adult, says Dr. Silverberg. More severe cases, however, are also more likely to persist.
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How Long Do Eczema Flare
The length of a flare-up will depend on what type of eczema you have, as well as the severity of the flare. With proper treatment, flare-ups may last one to three weeks, notes Harvard Health Publishing.
Chronic eczema such as atopic dermatitis can go into remission with the help of a good preventative treatment plan. Remission means that the disease is not active and you remain free of symptoms. Periods of remission can last for weeks or even years, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Emollients For Treating Eczema
Emollient creams add moisture to the skin. Apply moisturisers each day to clean, dry skin. It is especially important to moisturise after showering and bathing, and when living or working in an air-conditioned or heated environment. You may need to try several different brands until you find the emollient that works best for you. Ask your doctor, dermatologist or pharmacist for advice.
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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.
Living With Eczema And Atopic Dermatitis
Eczema can flare up when you are under stress. Learn how to recognize and cope with stress. Stress reduction techniques can help. Changing your activities to reduce daily stress can also be helpful.
The area where you had the eczema may easily get irritated again, so it needs special care. Continue to follow the tips provided here even after your skin has healed.
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How Discoid Eczema Is Treated
Discoid eczema is usually a long-term problem, but medications are available to help relieve the symptoms and keep the condition under control.
Treatments used include:
- emollients moisturisers applied to the skin to stop it becoming dry
- topical corticosteroids ointments and creams applied to the skin that can help relieve severe symptoms
- antihistamines medications that can reduce itching and help you sleep better
There are also things you can do yourself to help, such as avoiding all the irritating chemicals in soaps, detergents, bubble baths and shower gels.
Additional medication can be prescribed if your eczema is infected or particularly severe.
The face and scalp are not normally affected.
The first sign of discoid eczema is usually a group of small red spots or bumps on the skin. These then quickly join up to form larger pink, red or brown patches that can range from a few millimetres to several centimetres in size.
Initially, these patches are often swollen, blistered and ooze fluid. They also tend to be very itchy, particularly at night.
Over time, the patches may become dry, crusty, cracked and flaky. The centre of the patch also sometimes clears, leaving a ring of discoloured skin that can be mistaken for ringworm.
You may just have one patch of discoid eczema, but most people have several patches. The skin between the patches is often dry.
How To Get Rid Of Eczema On Your Face
Luckily for anyone with eczema, finding relief from an itchy red face can be as simple as finding eczema-friendly skincare products at your local drugstore.
First, stock up on 1 percent hydrocortisone cream . Dab that over your eczema patches, rinse off gently after 10 minutes, and then follow with a rich moisturizer to seal in hydration. Note: You should only use hydrocortisone for a week max at a time. So if you’re not seeing results, head to a derm.
You’ll also want to swap out your skincare routine for products that will hydrate you without making your problem worse. Shah recommends avoiding harsh or irritating ingredients, like fragrances, dyes, exfoliants like glycolic acid, and plant extracts. Look instead for gentle, moisturizing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, and shea butter.
Not sure which drugstore products are actually worth testing on your quest for an eczema-free face? Here are a few of Shahs picks:
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