Eczema And Structural Inequality
African American and Hispanic children are more likely to develop severe or persistent eczema. While genetics play a part in the formation of eczema, environmental factors also have an effect.
A 2018 review found that structural racial inequality in the U.S. is likely to affect atopic dermatitis severity in African American children.
Indigenous and Latinx children may also be at a higher risk of developing severe or recurrent eczema due to structural racial inequality.
Researchers have found that social inequalities mean that these children are more likely to be from lower-income households and disproportionately live in areas with higher pollution levels. These are risk factors for developing severe atopic dermatitis.
Racial inequality in healthcare is also a contributing factor.
Since eczema may be more difficult for some physicians to diagnose in darker skin types, some doctors may underdiagnose the severity of eczema in people of color.
This means that people of color can be more likely to develop more severe eczema than people with lighter skin.
On darker skin, eczema can cause darker brown, purple, or gray patches. The affected areas may be swollen, warm, itchy, dry, or scaly. After a flare-up, the affected skin may look darker or lighter than the surrounding area.
Eczema can appear anywhere on the body. However, Black people can be more prone to papular lesions, which look like small bumps on the torso, arms, and legs.
Is There A Cure For Eczema
There is no cure for eczema, but there are treatments. Every treatment plan should be tailored to your individual eczema symptoms. Depending on your age and the severity of your eczema, these treatments might include: medical grade moisturizing creams, prescription topical medications including topical corticosteroids, over-the-counter home remedies, phototherapy , immunosuppressants and injectable biologics.
Many people with eczema also find success with specific natural and alternative treatments, including bleach baths, cryotherapy, medical-grade honey, meditation and acupuncture. With these natural and alternative treatments, you want to be careful and also consult a healthcare professional before starting. Some natural treatments, like meditation, work amazingly with over-the-counter or prescription medications or ointments.
For most types of eczema, managing flares comes down to these basics:
- Know your triggers so that you can avoid exposure
- Implement a daily bathing and moisturizing routine
- Use OTC creams and prescription medication consistently and as prescribed.
Symptoms may be different from one child to the next. More often than not, eczema goes away as a child grows older, though some children will continue to experience eczema into adulthood. Adults can develop eczema, too, even if they never had it as a child. Read more for additional information about managing itch.
Eczema Risk Factors On Darker Skin
The National Eczema Association reports that family history also plays a role in why some populations have more severe eczema. Eczema tends to run in families with a history of eczema, allergies, hay fever, asthma , and other allergic conditions.
You are also at a higher risk of getting eczema if you are diagnosed with allergies or asthma or if you have a family history of other inflammatory skin conditions.
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Cold Weather Brings Itchy Irritated Dry And Scaly Skin Heres How To Treat Eczema And Other Skin Conditions And When To See A Doctor
In many parts of the U.S., the winter months bring frigid temperatures and drier conditions that can wreak havoc on the skin.
The primary role of the skin, as the largest organ in the body, is to act as a physical barrier to the external environment. When your skin is healthy, it helps protect you from allergens and infections. But in winter, when the outside temperature and humidity drop, skin can become especially irritated.
Heading into the winter months, a handful of common dermatological conditions can develop or worsen in response to the cold. These include eczema, chilblains, Raynauds phenomenon, cold urticaria and cold panniculitis. All are conditions that can be irritating and uncomfortable, and some are harder to treat than others. So its helpful to know when to manage these conditions on your own and when to see a dermatologist.
Eczema Coping Tips Diet
In most cases, eczema isnt caused or made worse by diet. If you notice that your eczema seems to get worse after eating a particular food, you may be an exception to this. See your doctor or dietitian for proper allergy testing and dietary advice.Never self-diagnose or you risk depriving yourself of enjoyable and nutritious foods for no good reason. Unnecessarily avoiding certain foods can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
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Ultraviolet Radiation Therapy For Eczema
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation can help reduce the symptoms of chronic eczema. Exposure under medical supervision can be carefully monitored with the use of specially designed cabinets the person stands naked in the cabinet and fluorescent tubes emit ultraviolet radiation.A person with stubborn eczema may need up to 30 sessions. The risks of unsupervised ultraviolet radiation therapy can be the same as for sunbathing faster ageing of the skin and greater risk of skin cancer.
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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Oral And Injected Medications
If symptoms of eczema and dermatitis are not relieved by topical medications, doctors may recommend stronger medications that are taken by mouth or injected into the skin.
In many instances, oral medications are prescribed for a short period to help get symptoms under control, and treatment then, ideally, shifts to management using topical medications and at-home therapies. But for severe eczema or dermatitis that is unresponsive to other treatment and causes persistent symptoms that interfere with your everyday life, some medications may be prescribed for months or years.
How Soon After Treatment Will I Feel Better
After treatment, it could take several weeks before your skin clears up completely. Topical medications or oral medications prescribed by your healthcare provider help your symptoms go away faster. If your symptoms get worse after treatment, or if they dont clear up after a few weeks, contact your provider.
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What Should I Do If My Baby Has Weeping Eczema
If your babys eczema starts to weep, call your healthcare provider so they can help get it under control. To ease symptoms, you can apply steroid cream or ointments. You may also want to consider giving your baby antihistamines for a few days to relieve itching.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Typical eczema is itchy and inconvenient. But when it begins to weep, it becomes a more serious health problem. If you develop weeping eczema, schedule a visit with your healthcare provider right away. Timely treatment will clear up your infection and reduce painful symptoms so you can get back to normal life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/29/2021.
- Johnson BB, Franco AI, Beck LA, Prezzano JC. Treatment-resistant atopic dermatitis: challenges and solutions. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2019 Mar 21 12:181-192. Accessed 11/26/2021.
- Makrgeorgou A, Leonardi-Bee J, Bath-Hextall FJ, et al. Probiotics for treating eczema. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Nov 21 11:CD006135. Accessed 11/26/2021.
- National Eczema Association. Multiple pages were reviewed for this article. An Overview of the Different Types of Eczema. Accessed 11/26/2021.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
What Should I Expect With Phototherapy
During your visit, you will apply a moisturizing oil to the skin and stand in a large cabinet undressed except for underwear and goggles to protect the eyes. The light-emitting machine will be activated for a short time usually just seconds to minutes and it will either treat the entire body or just certain exposed areas. It may take one or two months of steady treatment with phototherapy to start to see improvement in eczema symptoms, and at that point, the frequency of the visits can sometimes be reduced or stopped for a period to see if the eczema is in remission.
Potential side effects of phototherapy include:
- Sunburn and skin tenderness
- Premature skin aging
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Eczema Coping Tips Beauty Products
Suggestions for using beauty products include:
- Remember that even hypoallergenic cosmetics can irritate your skin. Whenever possible, keep your face free of make-up.
- Avoid perfumes, fragranced skin lotions and strongly scented shampoos.
- When using a new cosmetic, try testing it first on a small, inconspicuous area of skin such as your forearm. If you experience a reaction, dont use the product again.
How Can I Prevent Eczema
There are steps you can take that may prevent eczema flare-ups and outbreaks, including:
- Moisturize your skin regularly or when your skin becomes dry. Seal in moisture after a bath or shower by immediately applying moisturizer to your skin.
- Take baths or showers with warm, not hot, water.
- Stay hydrated and drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Water helps keep your skin moist.
- Wear loose clothes made of cotton and other natural materials. Wash new clothing before wearing it. Avoid wool or synthetic fibers.
- Manage your stress and emotional triggers. See a psychiatrist for medication and a therapist for counseling if youre experiencing symptoms of poor mental/emotional health.
- Use a humidifier if dry air makes your skin dry.
- Avoid irritants and allergens.
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What Type Of Moisturizer Treats Eczema
There are several options of moisturizer available to treat eczema. Choose skin care products that:
- Are hypoallergenic, fragrance- and dye-free.
- Are gentle or for sensitive skin.
- Contain petroleum jelly or mineral oil.
- Dont include preservatives or stabilizers.
- Have lipids and ceramides to improve your skins barrier.
It may take several different products through trial and error before you find one that works for you. If you need help choosing a moisturizer, talk to your healthcare provider.
How Do You Get Rid Of Nummular Eczema
To help clear nummular dermatitis flare-ups, your healthcare provider may prescribe topical treatments. These creams or ointments are applied to your skin:
- Calcineurin inhibitors .
Some people with broad areas of discoid eczema have difficulty covering all spots with topical treatments. Healthcare providers may suggest ultraviolet light therapy two to three times per week or oral corticosteroids.
Researchers continue to study additional treatment options.
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How Can I Prevent Eczema Flare
Once you know what triggers your eczema, your doctor may be able to help you develop an eczema action plan. This is your personal guide and checklist for how to manage your eczema and prevent it from flaring up.
Some things your doctor may recommend include:
- moisturising daily even when your skin is healthy, and avoid any chemical additives in moisturisers that may trigger your eczema
- avoiding your triggers
- avoiding things that can damage or dry out your skin, like soap or bubble bath
- making sure your baths and showers arent too hot
- rinsing off chlorine from swimming pools straight after swimming
- avoiding overheating
- not wearing woollen fabrics directly on your skin
Who Does Dyshidrotic Eczema Affect
Dyshidrotic eczema can affect anyone. However, it most commonly affects people:
- Between the ages of 20 and 40.
- Assigned female at birth.
- With a personal or family history of eczema.
- With a personal or family history of contact dermatitis.
- Who develop allergic reactions when they touch an antigen, which is a foreign substance that causes an allergic reaction.
- Who receive immunoglobulin infusions. Intravenous immunoglobulin is an injection of antibodies for people with an immune deficiency.
About 50% of dyshidrotic eczema cases occur in people who have allergic reactions when they touch an antigen. Researchers think that people assigned female at birth may be more likely to develop dyshidrotic eczema because they more frequently interact with certain antigens, like nickel and cobalt in jewelry.
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How Can I Prevent Baby Eczema
Since several factors can cause eczema in your baby, theres no way to completely prevent the condition. You can help your baby reduce their risk of developing a flare-up of symptoms by:
- Avoiding triggers, irritants and allergens.
- Using moisturizer on your babys skin daily.
- Giving your baby baths with warm, not hot, water that is between five to 10 minutes long.
- Choosing moisturizers or ointments without fragrance, designed for babies.
Treating Baby Eczema Naturally
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that can make your baby miserable. Babies and children with eczema have dry, sensitive skin that is easily irritated by fabrics, soaps and laundry detergents and even hot or cold weather.
The Eczema Rash
A baby with eczema will get a red rash. This rash can appear very scaly and will itch. The rash can crack, weep or even bleed. An eczema rash can also be spotty, resembling chicken pox.
With a very young baby, you may find that the rash will most often appear on their cheeks, nappy region and scalp. As your child grows, the rash can be found almost anywhere on the body. It is most common at the elbows, the back of the neck and even the hands. You will be relieved to know that most babies and toddlers will outgrow eczema by the time they reach the teen years, although some will continue to have eczema flares throughout their adult lives.
How to Manage Eczema
If you think your baby may have eczema, it is advisable to see your paediatrician to confirm your suspicions. Eczema cannot be cured, but the skin condition can be effectively managed with a few lifestyle changes.
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Can Atopic Dermatitis Go Away
Children will sometimes outgrow atopic dermatitis, or have flares that are less severe over time. Though atopic dermatitis isnt curable, its manageable with the right treatments. Most people can reduce their symptoms by using moisturizing creams at least twice daily. Even if youre diligent in your skincare routines, you can still experience flare-ups. Therefore, its important to know how to manage your symptoms when they come back.
Triggers Of Eczema Flare
- 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.
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Nummular Dermatitis
If you have nummular eczema, you should talk to a healthcare provider and receive treatment. They can help you clear the flare-up more quickly and prevent infection.
During treatment, call for any signs of infection, such as:
- Feelings of pain or tenderness on or near affected areas.
- Red or brown streaks on the skin near a lesion.
How Can I Prevent Nummular Eczema Episodes
To reduce your risk of discoid eczema flare-ups, try these skincare strategies:
- Avoid skin products and laundry detergents that contain fragrances or dyes.
- Avoid tight clothing and irritating fabrics.
- Manage stress, which may contribute to flare-ups.
- Moisturize with thick products, such as petroleum jelly or hydrating cream, especially when the skin is still damp after bathing or showering.
- Prevent skin injury. If an injury occurs, clean the area and cover it with a bandage.
- Take short , lukewarm showers.
- Avoid hot long baths.
- Use gentle cleansers that contain moisturizers.
- Avoid rubbing exfoliating skin.
- Avoid using a washcloth, buff puff or loofah.
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Balancing The Skins Acidity Levels
Vinegar is highly acidic. The skin is naturally acidic, but people with eczema may have less acidic skin than others, which can weaken the skins defenses.
Applying diluted apple cider vinegar could help balance the skins acidity levels, but vinegar can cause burns if it is not diluted.
In contrast, many soaps, detergents, and cleansers are alkaline. They can disrupt the acidity of the skin, which can leave the skin vulnerable to damage. This may explain why washing with certain soaps can cause eczema flares.