What Are The Signs
This type of hyperpigmentation can occur on any area of skin affected by inflammation, says Fishman, but especially those areas that receive sun exposure. These patches, which often appear after an eczema flare-up has resolved, may not go away for several months.
Common characteristics of eczema spots include:
- color that ranges from ashy gray to dark brown or deep purplish, depending on your natural skin tone
- dryness, scaliness, and itchiness on the discolored patches
- lichenification, or skin that becomes leathery as a result of frequent scratching and rubbing
- other general signs of eczema, including swelling of the skin, blistering, oozing, and crusting
Keep in mind, though, that not everyone with eczema experiences all of these symptoms, including hyperpigmentation.
How Many People Are Affected With Eczema
It affects around 5 per cent of adults and 15 to 20 per cent of children in the UK. And, it appears to be on the increase.
Why is that? One reason is that we are exposed to an increasing range of household products including detergents, solvents and cleaning materials which are known triggers for this condition.
This also applies to allergens which have also seen an increase in cases. These include exposure to dust and house mites.
A mild case of eczema is easy to treat and manage but severe cases are much harder to deal with. The problem is that there is usually more than one factor involved which makes it more difficult to diagnose and treat. So in many case it is a case of managing the condition and basically, learning to live with it.
When Eczema Is Under Control
Its important to continue treatment once the eczema is under control. Many parents find that they can control eczema by:
Keeping their childs skin hydrated
Finding out what triggers the eczema and helping their child avoid these triggers
Even with daily care, eczema can flare. Common eczema triggers like stress or a change in the weather can cause a flare. When your childs skin flares, medicine may be necessary. For children who have eczema that flares frequently, applying a low-dose medicine to the skin a few times per week can reduce flares.
Following your dermatologists treatment plan is worthwhile. It helps to control eczema and make your child feel better. It can also reduce your childs need for medicine.
Related AAD resources
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Eczema Medication And Therapy
Topical cream and oral/injected medication could be recommended to keep symptoms under control. Prescription creams will help to control itching while repairing the skin. Oral medication can help to fight skin infection and relieve itching. Injected drugs could help to control inflammation in severe cases.
When at-home treatment and medication does not control symptoms, a dermatologist may choose to perform one of the following treatments:
- Xtrac laser therapy Xtrac laser therapy has been approved to treat some types of eczema.
- Ultraviolet Light Therapy UVB or PUVA ultraviolet rays are effective for treating chronic cases, but increase risk for sunburn or skin cancer if used for too long.
- Wet Dressing Application Wrapping the affected area with topical medication and wet bandages has proven effective with certain forms of eczema.
When Do I Need To See A Dermatologist
When Do I Need To See a Dermatologist? You might not consider talking with a dermatologist when youre dealing with skin-related concerns. Sometimes you can resolve your skin issues through makeup, lotions, or other things you can find at your local drugstore.
But there are often times when you will need to contact a dermatologist for help. Here are some instances of times when you need to talk with such an expert.
Your Skin Becomes Inflamed
You might develop inflamed and itchy skin around certain body parts. The skin will swell and become red, and you might notice slight bumps in some areas.
Your dermatologist can talk with you about what triggers the inflammation and what you have been trying to use to correct the issue. Your dermatologist may find you have rosacea or eczema, or another skin disorder that requires extra assistance.
Such conditions will require different treatments, as some traditional lotions and other products you find at your local market might not work well against rosacea or eczema.
Skin Moles and Growths Appear
People often notice skin growths and moles around their bodies as they age. These arent always appealing, and they can be signs of skin cancer or another severe condition. These features could be signs of cancer if:
Contact your dermatologist immediately if you see any moles or growths that look unusual. You may be referred by your dermatologist to a doctor who can treat the issue before it becomes worse.
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Whats The Outlook For People With Eczema
For most people with eczema, its a chronic condition that goes through periods of flare-ups and remission. If you know the things that trigger your eczema like stress, dust, or certain detergents it can help to avoid these things and make certain lifestyle changes.
Most types of eczema can be controlled with prescription medication, like a topical steroid or an oral medication. There are also newer biologics that may be prescribed in some cases.
If you have difficulty controlling your eczema, seeing more than one specialist may help to get your condition under control.
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 Is Eczema Diagnosed And Treated
Eczema is typically diagnosed clinically by a physician. A history and physical exam can usually make the diagnosis of eczema and eczema. Occasionally a skin biopsy is performed. Different types of medications and treatments help relieve itching and inflammation. These medications include topical steroids and/or oral medications which can be prescribed by a physician. Eczema can be manageable with treatment, but there is no cure. If not treated, the itching and rash with likely persist.
How Can An Allergist Help Eczema
An allergist may be able to help you identify triggers and recommend treatments to help manage your eczema.
Your allergist may perform a skin prick test or blood testing to help discover the allergens that are triggering your eczema. These tests can be used to help identify food, seasonal, or year-round allergies that may be contributing to your symptoms.
After identifying possible triggers, an allergist can prescribe medications to help manage symptoms.
Allergists can also offer immunotherapy, which is used to help build up the immune systems response to allergens.
There are seven types of eczema, and each has its own types of symptoms and triggers.
The different types of eczema include:
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Can Home Remedies Help
If youre hoping to address eczema discoloration at home or searching for gentler alternatives to prescription treatment, you have a few options.
Fishman suggests considering skin care products with botanical ingredients known to promote lightening by slowing down melanin production. These include ingredients like:
She notes that youll likely need to use these products for at least 3 months in order to get results.
Another brightening skin care ingredient that may help lighten hyperpigmentation? Vitamin C.
According to Green, vitamin C can have benefit because it:
- has anti-inflammatory properties
- helps reduce the production of melanin
- has antioxidant properties that help neutralize free radicals from sun exposure
Vitamin B-3, which you might know as niacinamide, may also help prevent darker areas of pigmentation from rising to the top layer of your skin, where theyre visible.
Green also emphasizes the importance of using a moisturizer that repairs the skins natural protective barrier, which can promote healing and minimize discoloration. She recommends trying one with ingredients known to help to lock in moisture and repair the skin, including:
Experts agree that sun protection is key in preventing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Green recommends applying sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 50 daily and reapplying every 90 minutes.
How Can A Dermatologist Help Eczema
A dermatologist can help diagnose and treat eczema. Some dermatologists may be able to do patch testing in their clinic to help determine the possible cause of the eczema rash. Others may refer you to an allergist or to a dermatologist who specializes in allergic dermatitis.
A dermatologist can also help you manage symptoms of this condition. They may recommend the following things to help control your eczema:
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Where Eczema Commonly Occurs
Though patches of eczema can occur anywhere on the body, they most often appear on hands and feet, in the front of the bend of the elbow, behind the knees, and on the ankles, wrists, face and neck.
Eczema can also affect the skin around the eyes, including your eyelids. Scratching can cause redness and swelling around the eyes.
Eczema Research And Clinical Trials
We offer a number of clinical trials for patients with all types of eczema. We offer trials for topical treatments, pills, and injection medications in patients of all ages.
Some of these developments directly stem from research conducted in our Eczema Program. One such discovery is a treatment targeting a specific white blood cell called a T-helper 22 lymphocyte , which we found to be highly increased in eczema cases and associated with disease severity.
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Is Atopic Dermatitis The Same Condition
While the terms are used interchangeably, dermatitis addresses more than just inflamed skin. Atopic dermatitis includes eczema as part of a triad of symptoms, which can also include allergies and asthma. Atopic dermatitis begins in childhood and sometimes starts subsiding as one goes into adulthood. You will find atopic dermatitis has rashes in the creases of the elbows or knees. The skin may also become discolored or thicker in these areas.
Whats The Best Climate For People With Eczema
The temperature is mostly sunny throughout the year, but with moderate heat and cold seasons. Noted as the countrys least polluted state with zero high-ozone days, Honolulu is especially suitable for people whose eczema triggers up in cold weather. The humidity is balanced to moisturize and dry your skin naturally.
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Can Atopic Eczema Be Cured
No, it cannot be cured, but there are many ways of controlling it. Most children with atopic eczema improve as they get older . However, many of those who have had eczema continue to have dry skin and need to avoid irritants such as soaps or bubble baths. Eczema may persist in adults, but it should be controllable with the right treatment. Atopic eczema may be troublesome for people in certain jobs that bring them into contact with irritant materials, such as catering, hairdressing or nursing.
Getting Your Skin Back On Track After A Setback
At the end of the day, treatments and home remedies are not foolproof. They may not all work for your severe eczema or you may need more than one type of treatment at the same time, according to Chiesa Fuxench.
But when it comes to handling eczema setbacks, Wall says itâs about knowing what you can control and preparing as much as you can. âI would say I can’t control the weather. But I do know if I’m traveling, I’ll have what I call my âeczema emergency kit.ââ
For Wall, when she stays at a hotel or with friends or family, she makes it a point to pack âfragrance-freeâ products and even brings her own sheets to avoid a flare-up. But even though Wall stays away from most activities that may spark her eczema, sometimes she lets herself enjoy them despite knowing the consequences.
âIt’s a moment and it’s worth it, and you just have to go with it,â Wall says.
âYou really do need to clearly establish a basic skin care regimen. Typically, I say basic and simple because we don’t really want to overburden patients with treatments,â Chiesa Fuxench says.
Ultimately, if you live with lifelong eczema, Chiesa Fuxench notes that itâs important to buy into the idea that, as with other chronic diseases like diabetes or hypertension, youâll have to stay on top of your treatments.
Ashley Wall, 33, Livingston, NJ, eczema advocate.
Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: âPatient burden and quality of life in atopic dermatitis in US adults.â
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She Keeps Her Cleanser Simple
“I love starting my morning with a simple cleanser such as Cetaphil or Cerave. We usually dont need anything too active or aggressive in the morning . One tip is not to wash the face with hot water. A lot of people think that hot water works better or gets rid of acne causing bacteria but thats not true. In fact it strips a lot of our natural oils. Washing the face with lukewarm or cooler water actually has benefits including de-puffing and its a good way to wake up!”
Cetaphil® Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
Are There Different Types Of Eczema
There are other types of eczema besides atopic dermatitis. Here are a few others:
- Nipple eczema
The care and treatment for eczema may differ based on the persons condition. Treatments vary from bathing and moisturizing routines to medications. Oatmeal baths, calamine lotion, and anti-itch ointments are recommended for initial treatment.
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What Is A Dermatologist
A dermatologist is a doctor who focuses on conditions that affect the skin, hair, and nails. They see patients of all ages, treat over 3,000 different conditions, and many specialize in treating specific conditions like cancer and patient groups like People of Color.
A pediatric dermatologist has specialized training in treating children with conditions affecting their skin, hair, or nails.
There are three boards that provide certification in dermatology in North America:
- American Board of Dermotology
- American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
To be board certified, a dermatologist must pass an exam from one of these boards to test their medical knowledge and expertise.
Following board certification, a dermatologist may choose to become a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, the largest organization of dermatologists in the United States. A dermatologist who is a fellow will have FAAD after their name.
Is Atopic Eczema Hereditary
Yes. Atopic eczema tends to run in families. If one or both parents suffer from eczema, asthma or hay fever, it is more likely that their children will suffer from them too. In addition, there is a tendency for these conditions to run true to type within each family: in other words, in some families most of the affected members will have eczema, and, in others, asthma or hay fever will predominate.
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Eczema / Dermatitis Treatments
Once your skin disorder is correctly diagnosed by an expert clinician at Pymble Dermatology, an appropriate treatment path can be established. Eczema symptoms range from mild to severe and there are a wide range of treatment options available. In some instances, lifestyle changes can greatly assist recovery.
If you are prone to eczema, the following may help relieve your skin and prevent flares.
- Stay in a cool, shaded area. Avoid hot, humid, dusty environments
- Do not do strenuous exercise especially when the eczema flares
- Wear loose, cotton clothing.
- Avoid frequent contact with chemicals and hot water. They irritate and dry the skin. Soap free or soap substitutes are recommended.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid scratching.
A Dermatologist from Pymble Dermatology will prescribe medicated creams, lotions or ointments best suited for you. Moisturisers are a must and are to be used even after the eczema has settled. If necessary, antibiotics, anti-itch tablets or other oral medications will be given as indicated.
Eczema is often likely to recur even many months later, so it is best to understand your skin. Know what aggravates it and avoid the flare factors. You need to know what makes it better and instil it in your daily regime. Know your medications well and be vigilant with the treatment plan outlined by our doctor. Our doctor will help and advise if you are unsure.
Oral Or Injected Immunosuppressants
Oral immunosuppressant medications prevent the bodys immune system from sending an inflammatory response to the skin, which results in less itching, redness, and rash.
Immunosuppressant medications are available in varying strengths, and doctors determine the dosage based on your age, severity of symptoms, location and extent of the rash, your weight, and whether you have other medical conditions. Typically, these medications are taken once or twice daily, although the dosage can vary.
If eczema or dermatitis is severe, a doctor may recommend immunosuppressant medication that is injected into the skin. Your dermatologist determines the appropriate schedule of injections. He or she may administer the injections in a doctors office or show you how to do it so you can inject the medication at home.
Dermatologists may prescribe immunosuppressant medication for weeks or months or until symptoms of eczema or dermatitis are under control. Often, our doctors may reduce or stop a prescription at that time to see whether symptoms can be managed using topical medication, , or at-home therapies.
In some instances when symptoms cant be relieved by other treatments, therapy with immunosuppressant medications may continue for years. Your doctor can discuss side effects of immunosuppressant medications.
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