According to the National Eczema Association, one in ten people in the United States will develop eczema during their lifetime.
Also referred to as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a non-contagious, chronic skin condition that can cause burning sensation, severe itching, dryness, redness, and swelling, among many other symptoms. The condition can affect people of all ages, but it is most prevalent among infants and children.
Eczema typically develops in the hands, wrists, inside the bends of the elbows and knees, eyelids, feet, ankles, neck, and upper chest, (and the face and scalp in children).
If you’re experiencing the symptoms mentioned above and you suspect you have eczema, the information provided below will give you a better insight into the condition.
Causes and Triggers
The exact cause of eczema is not clear, but researchers suggest it may be due to an interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Eczema also often develops alongside other conditions, such as asthma and hay fever, and is more common in people with allergies.
The following are some of the substances and conditions that can cause eczema to flare up:
- Irritants found in bath products, hand soaps, and detergents
- Environmental allergens like pollen, dust mites, or pet dander
- Changes in temperature- moving from cold outdoor temperatures into warm, heated indoor temperatures
- Low humidity
- Extreme weather conditions
Diagnosis and Treatment
To confirm a diagnosis, your dermatologist will examine your skin and review your medical history. They may also perform patch testing or other tests to rule out other conditions or identify those that can possibly accompany your eczema.
Although there is no cure for eczema, there are a variety of treatments available to help control it. Your treatment plan could include one or more of the following options:
- Emollients/moisturizers– to prevent skin dryness
Barrier repair moisturizers can help to reduce moisture loss from the skin, repair the damage, and ease dryness, redness, and itching.
- Antihistamines– to relieve itching, particularly if eczema is related to environmental allergens
- Topical cream (corticosteroid cream)- to relieve itching and reduce inflammation
- Medications (e.g., oral corticosteroids)- to relieve severe symptoms (not to be taken long term)
- Antibiotics- if eczema results from a bacterial skin infection
- Phototherapy– This involves exposure to controlled amounts of natural sunlight or artificial ultraviolet (UV) light. Phototherapy can help relieve inflammation and itching and increase the bacteria-fighting system within the skin. (Not usually recommended for children.)
Taking care of your skin and recognizing potential triggers can help control and prevent flare-ups of eczema. Self-care strategies for eczema include the following:
- Moisturize regularly with thick emollient creams, particularly after bathing, to prevent skin dryness.
- Avoid skin care products that have harsh ingredients, such as those that contain lanolin, essential oils, ethanol, fragrances, and parabens.
- Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free, eczema-friendly cleanser, and avoid using body scrubs or washcloths, which can be abrasive.
- Avoid bathing and handwashing too frequently. After taking a shower, pat your skin dry with a towel. Avoid rubbing it, as this can scratch and cause irritation.
- Stay adequately hydrated.
- Use a humidifier in your home to add moisture into dry air. Ensure you keep the humidifier clean and maintained to avoid bacteria formation.
- Manger your stress; practice relaxation techniques to help reduce flare-ups.
- Keep your environment clean to reduce allergens, such as dust mites, animal dander and pollen, which can trigger symptoms.
Eczema Treatment in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL
If you’re looking for a reliable eczema specialist in the Sarasota or Bradenton area in Florida, visit us here at Intercoastal Medical Group. Our board-certified dermatologists are renowned for the high-quality, proven-effective solutions they provide for the entire range of hair, nail, and skin conditions—including eczema—helping you become comfortable in your own skin again.
Our dermatologists are conveniently located in both Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch. To be seen at our Cattleridge office by either Dr. Erin Long or Dr. Joseph Yohn call us at (941) 379-1799. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Taylor Dodgen at our Lakewood Ranch II location call (941) 538-0022. You can also request an appointment online.