Tips For Preventing An Eczema Flare
Eczema is a general term that refers to several health conditions that lead to irritated, inflamed, and itchy skin. While eczema is most common in children and babies, anyone can develop this condition, even if youve never had signs of it in the past.
The most common symptoms of eczema include:
- Intense itching
- Redness, inflammation, and areas of swelling
- Leathery, roughened, or scaly patches
- Discolored or dark patches of skin
Eczema symptoms can vary in severity from mild to severe, and its possible to experience multiple symptoms at once. Some individuals have a single flare-up, while others struggle with uncomfortable symptoms throughout their entire lives.
Theres no cure for this common condition, but Dr. Lisa Hitchins at Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston offers personalized eczema treatment. This October, in honor of Eczema Awareness Month, Dr. Hitchins shares five tips for avoiding eczema flare-ups.
You Have An Infection Or Serious Health Condition
Underlying health issues such as infections can trigger eczema flares, and swelling of the legs associated with congestive heart failure can result in itchy, red skin of the lower legs. Although the presence of eczema does not typically indicate an underlying concern, if your eczema is not responding to treatments as expected, it is best to bring it up with your dermatologist.
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Invest In A Humidifier
Following up from my last point, a humidifier might be a good idea if you are trying to avoid the drying effect of your central heating. This is because humidifiers work to pump more moisture back into the air and they can even be hooked up to your heating system! Just be sure to watch out and make sure youre not encouraging any fungal growth dont be afraid to get a steady flow of fresh air through your home!
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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.
Q: What About Prescription Treatments
It really depends on the patient and how severe their condition is, which is why personalization is so key.
For some people with eczema, over-the-counter products may be sufficient. But many people with even mild eczema, which affects less than 10% of the body, typically need to use a prescription topical corticosteroid or topical calcineurin inhibitorÃ¢both of which work to reduce inflammationÃ¢on occasion.
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How To Prevent Eczema Flares
You can take steps to help ward off eczema flare-ups or shorten them. Managing eczema flares means doing detective work to identify triggers and taking care of your skin. Often there is a lag time between exposure to a trigger and the itch developing.
Here are some tips to help keep the itch at bay:
- Keep an eczema diary. When you feel a flare coming on, think about any potential triggers you’ve been exposed to within the last several days and note them. Over time, you may see some patterns.
- Stay moisturized. Dry skin and eczema go hand-in-hand.
- Get familiar with common triggers. Develop the habit of reading cosmetics, cleansing agents, and household products ingredient labels.
- Think seasonally. When the air is dry, such as during the winter or at altitude, think ahead and add additional moisturizer to your routine.
- Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
Why Topical Steroid Withdrawal May Be Causing Your Eczema Flare Ups
If youve ever wondered why your skins not healing Topical Steroid Addiction and Topical Steroid Withdrawal could be one reason why.
Also known as Red Skin Syndrome and Steroid Induced Eczema, Topical Steroid Addiction and Topical Steroid Withdrawal is never pretty this often happens when an individual overuses topical steroid creams and experiences the negative side effects when its withdrawn.
Why Topical Steroid Withdrawal may be causing your eczema flare up
Common symptoms include: weeping, burning and intense flare ups when steroid cream is discontinued. Many times, overusing steroid creams can lead to a cycle of addiction, where doctors begin prescribing more potent steroids to treat the worsening skin condition.
To bring more awareness to this Tracy Scarpulla has written a fabulous blog post for me on this topic. Her story is incredible and shes been through SO much! Shes also learned a ton and has a wealth of knowledge to share. I hope it helps shed more light on this topic. Let her explain what flares up eczema
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What Should You Do If You Have Topical Steroid Addiction
My opinion is this: READ, READ, and READ some more read everything you can about Topical Steroid Addiction , Topical Steroid Withdrawal and what causes eczema flare ups. My blog has a list of other TSW bloggers. I literally jumped from one blog to the next in the earlier months, immersing myself in this process.
Next, develop a reasonable plan plan for the worst and hope for the best. Seek out a doctor, naturopathic doctor or nutritionist who will support you and help you develop an eczema flare up treatment. Learn what you can about genetic testing and even look into oral immunosuppresants. The immunosuppressants come with a long list of bad side effects, but many have been on them in order to work .
And last seek out personal support. Join a forum , join Facebook groups, and tell your family and friends what you are about to do and ask for help!
Heres a good question and answer video from Dr. Rappaport regarding Topical Steroid Withdrawal to give you a good start on some background info:
Care For Your Skin In The Bath Or Shower
Bathe only with a mild unscented soap, such as Dove, Basis, or Olay. Use a small amount of soap. Keep the water temperature cool or warm, not hot. Soaking in the tub for a short time can be good for your skin. Doing so allows your skins outer layer to absorb water and become less dry. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Then use a soft towel to pat your skin dry without rubbing. Immediately after drying, apply a moisturizer to your skin. This helps seal in the moisture.
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Consider Phototherapy To Help Prevent Flares
This treatment option uses ultraviolet light the same that is found in sunlight which has been filtered to remove the damaging aspects, according to NYU Langone Health. Controlled exposure to ultraviolet light during the daytime can improve eczema and prevent flares due to the anti-inflammatory properties of ultraviolet B wavelengths, Friedmann says. A study published in TheBritish Journal of Dermatology involving children with eczema found that narrowband ultraviolet B treatment reduced the signs of eczema by 61 percent. This doesnt need to be limited to a summer practice, though, and can be used year-round.
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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 .
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Hot Temperature Worsens Itch
External heat increases the body temperature. To cool off, the body dilates the blood vessels in the skin, which can attract inflammatory cells to the skin at a faster rate. Furthermore, heat also promotes the itch reflex, making the severity of the itch much worse. For that same reason, to suppress and control itch, patients are often advised to apply cold packs over the affected area.
Blockage Of Sweat Glands
There are two types of sweat glands in the body that help with the sweating process. These are eccrine and apocrine glands. There are occasions when the opening of these ducts become occluded, especially in hot weather. This can lead to miliaria, a type of rash that commonly occurs on the back and can be itchy.
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Stay Cool Avoid Sweating And Drink Enough Water
Trying to minimize sweating is an obvious first line of defense. Staying cool by avoiding excessively warm temperatures and reducing sweating are the most important strategies, Dr. Friedmann says. That might mean sticking to the shade when youre outside or staying indoors in an air-conditioned environment when the temperatures climb, Bard notes. Be sure to drink plenty of water, too. That will keep your body at a normal temperature, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . And opt for loose-fitting clothes in breathable fabrics .
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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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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.
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.
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.
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Drink Plenty Of Water
Keeping your body hydrated can help keep your skin hydrated. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. This will help moisturize your skin. Those eight glasses can include cups of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or your other favorite warm winter beverage.
Slice up lemons or other citrus fruits and add them to the water for a mild flavor.
What Does Eczema Look Like On White Black And Brown Skin
Eczema affects people of all skin tones and ethnicities and it can look different depending on your skin type. On lighter skin tones, affected areas usually appear inflamed and red in colour with dark pink patches, says Dr McClymont.
On darker skin tones, affected areas of skin may appear darker than the rest this is known as hyperpigmentation. Eczema patches tend to look purple, dark brown or ashen grey. As the skin heals, it may temporarily become lighter, known as hypopigmentation.
Black skin may be particularly susceptible to eczema, but the severity of flare-ups is often underestimated as the redness from inflammation may be difficult to see.
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Dont Skimp On The Moisturizer
The outer layer of your skin acts as a protective barrier against irritants, bacteria, and allergens. When you have eczema, this area of your skin is often damaged, which leaves you vulnerable to itchy and chronically dry skin. When this occurs, its harder for your skin to retain water and your eczema can grow worse.
Keeping your skin properly moisturized is an essential step in controlling eczema. By moisturizing regularly, you can help protect the outer layer of your skin, which acts as a protective barrier against irritants, bacteria, and allergens.
While its important to moisturize regularly, its essential to use a product that safe to use with eczema. Dr. Hitchins can help you select a moisturizer thats suitable for your form of eczema and provide detailed recommendations on ideal applications for example, moisturizing within three minutes of bathing to achieve optimal results.
Its That Time Of The Month
Bad moods. Raging headaches. Now eczema? The drop in estrogen right before your period can cause skin drynessand, in turn, eczema symptoms. Experts have dubbed this cyclical itch estrogen dermatitis. Pregnancy can induce the condition, too: Your immune system is hyper-focused on fighting off allergens and irritants in an effort to keep the fetus safe, which can bring on the inflammatory immune response that triggers eczema. If you have pregnancy-induced eczema, stick to basic, fragrance-free hydrating products, and run anything new by your gyno, says Dr. Gohara.
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Tips To Prevent Flares Of Eczema
What can you do to prevent flares of eczema during the summer months? Here are some useful tips:
Do you suffer from eczema during the hot summer months? Or, this is your time of reprieve and solace? Let us know. Also, if you have any other good tips on how to prevent eczema flares, please share them as well.
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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Why Is My Eczema Worse In The Summer
If you find that your eczema is worse in the summertime, this could be due to various reasons. Besides the heat itself which raises body temperature, there is increased sweating during the summer. Sweat contains various salts that can irritate broken or cracked skin in people with eczema. Moreover, when you are indoors during the summer, air conditioning can have a drying effect on sensitive skin, making you more prone to itching. Some people with eczema find that seasonal pollen triggers flares. Other potential summertime triggers include swimming in a chlorinated pool .
How Is Eczema Treated What Medications Are Used
Treating eczema can be difficult if the cause is something you cant control, like genetics. Fortunately, you may have some influence over your environment and stress levels. Do your best to figure out what triggers or worsens your eczema, and then avoid it. The goal is to reduce itching and discomfort and prevent infection and additional flare-ups.
Consider these treatment tips:
If your child has skin problems, such as eczema, you can:
- Avoid long, hot baths, which can dry the skin. Use lukewarm water instead and give your child sponge baths.
- Apply lotion immediately after bathing while the skin is still moist. This will help trap moisture in the skin.
- Keep the room temperature as regular as possible. Changes in room temperature and humidity can dry the skin.
- Keep your child dressed in cotton. Wool, silk and manmade fabrics such as polyester can irritate the skin.
- Use mild laundry soap and make sure that clothes are well rinsed.
- Watch for skin infections. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice an infection.
- Help them avoid rubbing or scratching the rash.
- Use moisturizers several times daily. In infants with eczema, moisturizing on a regular basis is extremely helpful.
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