Determine If Youre Dealing With Eczema Flare
Its important to realize what you or your child is really suffering from are you dealing with eczema or dry skin? I would recommend a Dermatologist visit to be sure, especially with children.
Sophia often has eczema flare-ups that occur on the inside of her elbows and knees, which cause a lot of itchiness, pain, and sometimes even bleeding if we dont remedy it soon enough.
Ive found that by using the Happy Little Bodies Eczema Relief Cream over the past couple of weeks our flare-ups have been less intense and often.
About Skin Infections And Eczema
Skin infections are common in people with eczema and it is likely that at some point you will experience either a bacterial, fungal or viral infection. All of these infections require intervention to clear them up as they do not improve on their own. The quicker the infection is recognised and the sooner treatment is started, the better the response to treatment. Preventing infection is also important from simple hand washing before applying your creams to more sophisticated methods using antiseptics.
When you have eczema, the top layer of the skin is often damaged. This damage is often clearly visible to the naked eye, appearing as cracks and areas opened up by scratching. There is also less protection within the skin, which you cannot see. These alterations in the barrier function of the skin increase the potential for skin infection. These infections are often described as secondary infections, which means they develop because of the underlying condition of eczema.
What Does The Science Say
Theres def a direct link between stress and eczema breakouts. Studies have found that stress can screw with the top layer of your skin . This can make you more vulnerable to allergens, bacteria, and irritants, and all those things can cause a flare-up.
Stress might also make it harder for your skin to bounce back after a flare-up. This means your symptoms can last longer which can increase your stress which can cause more flare-ups which can increase your stress The vicious cycle of stress and scratching continues.
Eczema isnt a one-size-fits-all kind of skin sitch. Symptoms and triggers can vary from person to person. Here are some common culprits.
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How Is Eczema Diagnosed By Healthcare Professionals
Diagnosing eczema generally does not require any lab tests. Your dermatologist or an allergist may be able to diagnose the condition on the basis of your medical history and by physically examining your skin.
In some cases, however, your healthcare provider may prescribe additional tests to support the diagnosis. These tests are done to identify the cause of allergic reactions. These tests can include:
How Can Eczema Impact Your Life
Eczema is a skin condition that can be difficult to live with, but its more than possible if you work with your dermatologist and follow lifestyle tips. Eczema can be a skin condition that people do not understand, and for this reason, they may treat you differently. For example, some people think it is your fault that you have eczema or make certain assumptions about who you are and what type of person you are. Those with eczema know how difficult, embarrassing, and even painful this skin condition can be. However, there are ways to treat and prevent flares so that your outbreaks become less severe and happen less often, if not once in a blue moon! Although the exact cause of eczema is unknown, research shows that having sensitive skin genes may play a role in the development of eczema.
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Eczema Treatment: 13 Ways To Find Relief
While there is no cure for eczema, there are a variety of non-invasive eczema treatment options that can provide relief during a flare-up and some that may prevent its onset. These can include corticosteroids, but the following home eczema treatment options may be best.
1. Light Therapy/Phototherapy
According to the National Eczema Association, phototherapy helps to calm inflammation, reduces itching, increases vitamin D production and helps fight bacteria on the skin. Adding 1015 minutes a day of sun exposure, particularly during an eczema flare, can provide relief and potentially speed healing.
2. Vitamin D
In addition to increasing sun exposure, supplementing withvitamin D rich foods like cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, eggs and raw milk may help prevent eczema in children and adolescents. Ideally, during a flare you will get 2,000-5,000 IU daily if your sun exposure is low, consider boosting your intake with a high-quality supplement. Preliminary research shows that low vitamin D levels during pregnancy and during childhood may increase the risk for developing eczema.
Because dry skin is both a cause and symptom, it is imperative to moisturize affected areas at least twice a day. Coconut oil is the perfect moisturizer for eczema sufferers. This eczema treatment is antibacterial and anti-fungal, with antimicrobial properties that provide soothing relief, and may speed healing.
4. Treat the Mind and Body
5. Dead Sea Salt Baths
6. Cool, Wet Compresses
Use A Moisturizing Hand Soap
Washing your hands can be so painful in the winter. Also, you may find that your hand soap is drying your hands out even more. You want to look for a good moisturizing hand soap that will leave your hands feeling smooth and moist.
First and foremost you should read the product labels carefully and find ones that contain ingredients such as honey, goat milk, patchouli, etc, which can give your hands a soft, smooth and clean appearance. Among the above mentioned products, goat milk has unique properties that can minimize the risk of inflammation and irritation. Both of these are essential components in relieving painful eczema flare-ups and avoiding new ones for eczema sufferers. That is why it is best to substitute standard soaps with goat milk soap for eczema and enjoy the benefits of its skin-loving ingredients on your hands.
Also remember to wash your hands in warm, not hot, water.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Eczema
Eczema can affect any area of the skin.
The severity of symptoms and areas affected can vary.
Itching is the most significant symptom of eczema, and scratching makes it worse. The itching is often bad enough to disturb sleep. Sometimes the scratching can be so severe that areas of skin start to bleed. They may also become infected so that the skin oozes and crusts. If inadequately treated patches of eczema may become thickened and discoloured.
Medication Prices For Eczema
The prices of eczema medications vary, and depending on the severity of your case, they can add up quickly.
- For a mild case, you may end up paying less than $50 a month for a moisturizing cleanser, moisturizer, and over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, according to Cost Helper Health.
- The costs for more severe cases can range from less than $20 a month for an oral steroid medication to up to $500 or more per month for an immunosuppressant cream, before insurance, per Cost Helper Health.
- As of January 2021, the list price for a month of Dupixent injections was just over $3,200, according to the manufacturer, although very few patients pay the list price.
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Eczema On The Face Versus The Body
Even though all three experts agree that the general signs and symptoms of eczema will be the same regardless of where it appears on your bodyface includedthere are some key differences that are important to be aware of.
As Wheeler explains, eczema on the face can be more difficult to manage since the skin is more sensitive and we tend to apply more products that might trigger a flare-up. This, for example, would require a different treatment strategy than a type of eczema on the hands called pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema which, Bae says, presents itself as deep-seated blisters.
“You can also get nummular eczema, which looks like a coin-shaped rash on the body. Plus, since many patients with eczema scratch and rub the areas affected, it’s not uncommon for the skin to appear thickened and/or sometimes darker in some areas of the body and face than others,” says Bae.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Relieve Symptoms
While it can seem that nothing will relieve the discomfort, you can ease symptoms of atopic dermatitis . Here are some easy-to-make changes that dermatologists recommend:
Moisturize after bathing and when your skin feels dry. Keeping your skin hydrated helps form a barrier between you and the world. To avoid irritating your skin, use a fragrance-free cream or ointment instead of a lotion.
Choose fragrance-free skin care products. Fragrance can cause an AD flare-up. To avoid this, only use products labeled fragrance free. You may see the word unscented on a product label. Avoid these, too. Unscented means that the fragrance has been masked. Although you wont smell the fragrance in an unscented product, a masked fragrance can still trigger a flare-up.
Test all skin care products before using them. While fragrance often causes AD to flare, other ingredients in skin care products can also cause a flare-up. To test a product, apply a small amount to skin without AD. Leave it on your skin for 24 hours. If your skin remains clear after 24 hours, its less likely to cause a flare-up.
Bathe daily, taking a 5- to 10-minute bath or shower in lukewarm water. A short bath or shower helps hydrate the skin. When you apply your moisturizer within 5 minutes of bathing, this helps to lock in the moisture.
Wash clothing in detergent that is fragrance free and dye free. The fragrance and dye can trigger a flare-up.
Related AAD resources
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What Is Eczema What Are Its Types
As we indicated earlier, eczema is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin. The condition is characterized by severe itching and dry, leathery, and scaly rashes. While eczema can appear anywhere on the body, it most commonly appears on the hands and feet, around the ankles and wrists, and behind the knees and elbows.
Over 31 million Americans deal with some form of this skin condition . Symptoms of the disease may become apparent in the first year and can continue into teens or even adulthood.
The American Academy of Dermatology classifies eczema into seven different types, depending on the location of the rash and its possible environmental triggers. The following are the seven different types of eczema:
- Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is considered the most common form of eczema. It may occur due to an interplay of both environmental exposures and genetic predisposition. Children or individuals who develop the condition often have a family history of allergic diseases such as hives, asthma, or hay fever.
The condition is characterized by itchy, inflamed skin that may recur intermittently.
- Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a localized reaction that occurs when the skin comes in contact with an allergen or irritants such as certain chemicals or acids. The point of contact on the skin may become inflamed, red, and cause a burning sensation.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema
This form of eczema typically occurs during summer and spring and in warm areas.
- Hand Eczema
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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How Do I Take Care Of Myself
Reducing your stress is very important. Try these tips:
- Count to ten as you take a deep breath.
- Exercise daily.
- Try not to drink as much caffeine and alcohol.
- Sleep eight hours a night.
- Eat healthy.
- Try to have a positive attitude.
- Journal every day.
- Talk about your life with friends, family and a therapist.
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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Complementary And Alternative Medicine For Eczema
Advice for natural, complementary, and alternative medical treatments for eczema abounds, but there is limited medical evidence for their efficacy, Yu cautions. He notes that Sunflower oil as an emollient has perhaps the best evidence, whereas others, such as olive oil, have been shown to worsen dryness and eczema severity in patients. But, as the NEA notes, you should avoid sunflower oil if you have an allergy to sunflower seeds.
Coconut oil has been shown to have some benefits in people with eczema as a moisturizer, notes Yu. The same study mentioned above even found that virgin coconut oil can reduce the amount of staph bacteria on the skin, and in turn reduce the chance of infection from skin that is irritated, scratched or otherwise broken.
Natural and alternative therapies should be used in concert with therapies that have more substantial medical evidence and safety, and not as a replacement for them, Yu advises. Just because something is natural doesnt make it safe, or effective.
Try An Apple Cider Vinegar Bath
There is little evidence to prove that apple cider vinegar can help treat eczema symptoms. But some people believe that ACV has pH-balancing properties that could be beneficial for the skin.
A good way to include this ingredient in your skincare regime is by taking an ACV bath. Here are the steps to follow:
Alternatively, you can also make your own ACV wet wrap by soaking strips of gauze or clean cotton fabric in a solution of one cup of warm water mixed with one tablespoon of ACV. Leave the wet wrap on for at least three hours or overnight.
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Managing Your Work Life With Eczema
Eczema can affect how, when, and where you work. About 15 percent of the workday can be impacted by symptom flare-ups on average, according to a study published in August 2018 in JAMA Dermatology.
Regardless of disease severity, people with the disease are more likely to take five or more days off work each year compared with their coworkers not affected by eczema. For some people, that can mean having to work from home or otherwise have special accommodations at work, such as avoiding contact with irritating chemicals, notes the NEA.
You may need a doctors note for your employer, something that Yu says he has written for patients. Clearly communicate what you need and why so you can navigate work with eczema successfully.
What Questions Might My Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Eczema
The conversation with your healthcare provider will need to cover a lot of information. Be sure to be specific about your symptoms.
- Where is your eczema located?
- What have you used to try to treat your eczema?
- What medical conditions do you have? Allergies? Asthma?
- Is there a history of eczema in your family?
- How long have you had symptoms of eczema?
- Do you take hot showers?
- Is there anything that makes your symptoms worse?
- Have you noticed that something triggers or worsens your eczema? Soaps? Detergents? Cigarette smoke?
- Is there so much itchiness that you have trouble sleeping? Working? Living your normal life?
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Are There Any Risks Or Health Problems Associated With Eczema
Eczema is primarily known to impact and interfere with sleep, work and concentration due to the itch and discomfort. The condition can also affect the confidence and appearance of individuals, leading to increased anxiety and depression.
Research also shows that individuals with eczema may be at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke .
Bleach Baths And Eczema
Why do it? Many people carry bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus on their skin. This is particularly common in children and adults who suffer from eczema.
Eczema is an itchy skin condition, often worsened by a bacterial infection. Staphylococcus aureus can contribute to the flaring of the eczema and to ongoing skin inflammation. Complete eradication of Staphylococcus aureus in patients with eczema is very difficult, however some therapies can reduce the number of organisms which live on the skin.
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Your Mental Health And Eczema
Eczema can exact a heavy toll on your mental health. The more severe the symptoms, the higher the rate of depression and anxiety and mental health impact you tend to see, says Christine Triano, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist who is the director of mental health at the Center for Connection in Pasadena, California.
In severe cases, the burning, itching, and discomfort can lead to sleeplessness especially and then missed work, missed school, and the stress that comes from that, says Triano. Toxic stress builds up, leading to more symptom flare-ups. We see a kind of hopelessness and fatigue that comes from the chronic nature of the disease and not feeling like one has control over it.
Youre not alone if you feel this way. A 2017 NEA survey showed that more than 30 percent of respondents with atopic dermatitis were diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or both. Meanwhile, a study published in December 2018 in JAMA Dermatology found that people with eczema are 44 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts and 36 percent more likely to attempt suicide than those who do not have eczema.
If eczema is wearing you down mentally and emotionally, share that with your doctor, who can make a referral to a mental health provider and perhaps address your stress-producing physical symptoms as well.