Reduce The Chances Of Scratching
The most common problem that people with eczema face is itchy skin. You might be very tempted to scratch the area, but try your best to avoid doing that. Some people bandage the affected area to prevent scratching in their sleep. If you are one of them, always keep your fingernails short and in shape to decrease the extent of damage if you do end up scratching.
Living With Eczema And Next Steps
As you might imagine, this is only the type of the eczema iceberg! If you or a loved one experiences eczema, theres still a lot to learn, from researching your specific type to deciding which treatment option is best for you. Many in the eczema community often feel overwhelmed trying to figure out the cause of their case and the best way to manage symptoms.
While its normal to feel overwhelmed, its also important to know youre not alone. The National Eczema Association and the wider eczema community can be a place to find support, solidarity and resources which might help with the physical or mental health impacts of this condition.
- National Eczema Association | 505 San Marin Drive, #B300 | Novato, CA 94945
- 415-499-3474 or 800-818-7546
Frequently Asked Questions About Eczema
As you might have already guessed, eczema is a nuanced condition which impacts millions of people worldwide. Theres a lot of information out there about this conditionincluding the resources on this very websitebut here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about this skin condition.
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How Do I Get Rid Of Eczema
Your treatment for eczema is unique to you and what caused your symptoms to flare up. Treatment for eczema could include:
- Using gentle or sensitive skin moisturizers throughout the day when you have dry skin. Apply moisturizer when your skin is damp after a bath or shower.
- Apply topical medications to your skin as advised by your provider, like topical steroids.
- Take oral medications like anti-inflammatory medicines, antihistamines or corticosteroids to reduce itchiness and swelling.
- Immunosuppressant drugs help regulate how your immune system functions.
- Light therapy to improve the appearance of your skin and remove blemishes.
- Avoid triggers that cause symptoms of eczema to flare up.
How To Treat Eczema Flares
A good rule of thumb is to start treating eczema as soon as you feel an itch coming on. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to break the cycle. Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema, but effective treatments and techniques exist. At home, these include:
- Keep skin well hydrated and moisturized with unscented products. Ointments and creams are best.
- Consider skipping a bath or shower. Keep them short and use tepid water.
- Treat your skin gently, and don’t rub.
- Add baking soda or oatmeal to your bath.
- Try a bleach bath unless you’re sensitive to chlorine. This decreases bacteria and yeast on the skin, which could lead to infection and impair the healing of eczema plaques.
- Add mineral salts to the bath for severe flares.
- Add about 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the tub.
- Try over-the-counter hydrocortisone anti-itch creams or lotions.
If your eczema is still not under control, a healthcare provider can recommend treatment, including:
- Topical immunomodulators you apply to the skin to regulate the immune response, such as Opzelura cream, Protopic ointment, Elidel cream, and Eucrisa
- Topical steroids
- Oral steroids or other systemic immunosuppressants, including Cibinqo , Rinvoq , Rheumatrex , and cyclosporine.
- Biologics, which are targeted immunosuppressants, including Dupixent and Adbry
- Wet wrap therapy can be done at home after guidance from a healthcare provider
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What Are Some Of The Alternate Terms People With Eczema Sometimes Use To Describe Their Skin Condition
There are many subcategories of eczema within the general descriptions like atopic dermatitis, each of which may include specific triggers and sytmptoms specific to individual body parts. For instance, eczema may appear one way on your ears or face, whereas it could appear differently on your hands and feet. The skin disease appears and evolves differently for everyone.
The phrase discoid eczema is sometimes used interchangeably with nummular eczema or discoid dermatitis. General treatment and management recommendations for discoid eczema or nummular eczema are available here. Recommendations for experts in discoid eczema and other forms of severe eczema are available via the National Eczema Association Eczema Provider Finder. Severe eczema comes with additional complications beyond itchy skin and rashes and can lead to hospitalization if left untreated. People with severe eczema are also at higher risk for food allergy and asthma, a triangulation of conditions that commonly co-occur known as the Atopic March. Topical cortiocosteroids, if prescribed by your healthcare provider, should be sparingly for this skin disease to avoid potential complications with topical steroid withdrawal.
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.
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When Should I See My Babys Healthcare Provider
Visit your healthcare provider if your babys skin shows signs of an infection. Babies diagnosed with eczema are at a high risk of developing an infection because the protective barrier of their skin doesnt work as it should. Scratching can also break open your babys skin, exposing their body to bacteria or viruses that can get into their body. Signs of an infection include:
- Fluid-filled blisters or sores.
- A yellow crust forms around their eczema rash.
- Swelling and a dark red to purple tone to their rash.
- Pain or sensitivity to the touch.
What Are The Causes Of Canine Eczema
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that affects many pets, with dogs being especially vulnerable. Unfortunately, the underlying causes of canine eczema can be difficult to pin down as they are often attributed to a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Understanding these triggers is key to preventing and adequately treating flares of eczema in our furry friends.
Atopic Dermatitis – The Most Common Form Of Canine Eczema.
Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common forms of canine eczema and occurs when a dog’s immune system mistakenly sees harmless environmental substances as harmful, leading to an allergic reaction which manifest as patches or lesions on their skin1. These allergens can include pollen, mold spores, grasses or insect bites2 and for some dogs, even foods such as wheat or dairy may cause dermatitis flare-ups3. As such it’s important for pet parents to carefully monitor the environment around their pup in order identify any possible allergens that could be contributing to their discomfort.
Flea Bites And Other Parasite Infestations.
Dry Skin & Inadequate Nutrition.
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First What Are The Most Common Eczema Symptoms
Before we talk about all the possible reasons you have eczema, its good to recognize the signs and symptoms. Eczema tends to affect the folds of the skin, including the bends of the elbows and knees, ankles, wrists, eyelids, and the back of the neck. According to the Mayo Clinic, common eczema symptoms can include:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Inflammation on the skin that may appear red, purple, or brownish
- Raw, cracked, swollen, or scaly skin
- Small, raised bumps
While you may experience one or all of these symptoms, its important to note that eczema can present differently from person to person depending on your skin tone. Different ethnic populations have different presentations and patterns of eczema, Azeen Sadeghian, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, tells SELF. For example, if you have a deeper skin tone, your inflammation may take on a violet or purple color . And over time, you may also see some skin discoloration if your eczema is left untreated.
Whats more, Black people will sometimes develop eczema on the outside of the forearms or elbows as opposed to the inside folds of the skin, Dr. Sadeghian notes. Follicular accentuationwhere the skin around hair follicles becomes pronounced and bumpyis also a more common symptom in darker skin tones. These important nuances can sometimes present challenges when it comes to diagnosing skin conditions in people of color.
What Causes Eczema To Start
The first signs of eczema are itchiness, dry skin and a rash. These signs indicate that you came into contact with a trigger in your environment that caused your symptoms to start or flare up. Identifying environmental triggers and avoiding them can reduce your risk of an eczema flare-up in your future.
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How Is Dog Eczema Diagnosed
As any pet parent knows, eczema in dogs can be a difficult and painful condition for our furry friends. Fortunately, there are effective methods for diagnosing and treating dog eczema. In order to accurately diagnose the cause of your pup’s eczema, it is important to understand how veterinarians approach this condition.
The first step in diagnosing dog eczema is for the veterinarian to systematically examine the entire body of your animal. During this process, the vet will look closely at areas where symptoms such as irritation or flaking skin have occurred, as well as review any medical history you may have on your pets previous health issues. This comprehensive physical exam will provide valuable information regarding the specific area where eczema may be present and allow an accurate diagnosis to be made based upon a combination of observations and tests.
When making a definitive diagnosis of canine eczema, your vet may also run tests such as blood work or skin scrapings in order to rule out other possible causes such as infections or allergies that could be influencing conditions that appear similar to those associated with canine ecozma. If a specific cause isn’t easily identified through these common laboratory tests then additional testing may also be necessary including allergy testing or gut bacteria analysis in severe cases so that underlying causes can effectively treated once their provenance is known by medical science.
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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Does Baby Eczema Go Away On Its Own
Baby eczema needs treatment to go away completely. The best treatment is using moisturizer daily or several times each day to keep your babys skin hydrated.
Most cases of baby eczema clear up by the time they start school, around age 4 or 5. Sometimes eczema can go away or reduce in severity as your child reaches adolescence or by the time they turn into adults. As your child grows, they may have sensitive skin or flare-ups of eczema symptoms throughout their life.
How To Prevent Eczema Flare
The best way to prevent eczema flare-ups is to become familiar with your personal triggers so you can avoid any products, foods, or conditions that may cause eczema symptoms to flare up.
Some general tips include using mild, unscented soaps and developing a consistent bathing and moisturizing schedule.
Use moisturizers that work for you, especially on eczema-prone skin and areas of the body. For best results for long-term eczema, be sure to always use medications as prescribed.
When the weather changes and the air becomes more dry and cold, it can also be helpful to wear gloves to keep skin moisturized and prevent flare-ups.
Another good way to combat eczema flare-ups is to address stress, which is a common trigger.
Some wellness practices and systems, including yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation, have been shown to help manage emotional stress, as well as the nervous system in general.
Acupressure and massage can also help relieve symptoms and keep the general nervous system in check and inflammation at bay.
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How Is Baby Eczema Treated
Treatment varies for baby eczema based on what caused your childs symptoms to flare up and the severity of their symptoms. Treatment for baby eczema could include:
- Eliminating or avoiding triggers: Avoid scented or fragranced soaps, lotions or detergents. These things can cause eczema to flare. Your provider might test your babys skin to identify if theyre allergic to certain things in their environment that they contact regularly. If youre able to identify what causes your babys eczema triggers, avoiding those causes helps your babys skin heal and prevents future eczema flare-ups.
- Using topical corticosteroids: These are prescription-strength ointments that you rub on your babys skin like a lotion. Corticosteroids help reduce itching and swelling. For mild eczema, apply topical OTC 1% hydrocortisone ointment twice a day for no longer than two weeks. For moderate to severe eczema, your healthcare provider may recommend prescription-strength steroid ointments. Any steroid ointment should not be applied for longer than two weeks since it may lead to discoloration by thinning out the skin.
- Applying moisturizer to your babys skin: Keeping your babys skin hydrated can reduce symptoms, soothe their skin, remove discomfort and prevent flare-ups. Choose moisturizers designed for babies and products that dont contain fragrances. The best time to apply moisturizers to your babys skin is after a bath and a couple of times throughout the day when their skin appears dry.
Medications And Prescribed Treatment
A variety of over-the-counter medications, like oral antihistamines and anti-itch cream can help manage the symptoms of a flare-up.
Symptoms of burning or inflammation can also be managed with acetaminophen , or an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen .
In more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe an oral corticosteroid , or corticosteroid creams or ointments.
Topical steroids or topical corticosteroids are some of the most commonly prescribed treatments for eczema, as they can reduce inflammation and itching and allow the skin to repair and heal.
These creams vary by strength and should only be used on the affected area.
There is evidence that immunosuppressant drugs may also help manage eczema, which often occurs as a result of immune system overload.
Oral prescription options include azathioprine, cyclosporine, methotrexate, and mycophenolate mofetil.
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Signs Of An Infection
Areas of skin affected by eczema can become infected. Signs of an infection can include:
- your eczema getting a lot worse
- fluid oozing from the skin
- a yellow crust on the skin surface or small yellowish-white spots appearing in the eczema
- the skin becoming swollen and sore
- a high temperature and generally feeling unwell
See your GP as soon as possible if you think your or your child’s skin may have become infected.
Allergic Eczema On The Face Or Neck
Contact eczema is caused by an allergy. It occurs when your skin has an allergic reaction after coming into contact with a specific product. You may have been exposed to this product several times in the past without having a reaction. Indeed, one characteristic of contact eczema is that the allergy can appear suddenly.
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If you find that your flare-ups happen when youâre stressed, you may need to identify some lifestyle changes like taking on fewer projects, getting more rest, or finding more time for mindfulness. Likewise, if you notice that your facial eczema gets worse in dry or hot weather, try to plan ahead for AC breaks, come prepared with sunscreen, and find a thicker and more reliable moisturizer that can hang on all day.
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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.
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Eczema And Your Genes
Research shows that some people with eczema have a mutation of the gene responsible for creating filaggrin. Filaggrin is a protein that helps our bodies maintain a healthy protective barrier on the outermost layer of our skin. Without enough filaggrin to build and maintain a strong skin barrier, moisture can escape and then allow bacteria, viruses and allergens to enter the body this exposed or leaky skin barrier can then lead to extremely itchy skin, dry scaly patches of skin, blisters, skin infections, red spots or bumps and other symptoms.
The most common type of eczema, atopic dermatitis, is often caused by a patients genetics. It isnt contagious, but you might have to thank your parents if you have it since it runs in the family. Youre more likely to develop atopic eczema if a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, has it too.