Eczema can be irritating to live with, to say the least. But how do you know if you have it? And if you do, then how can it be treated? We'll answer those questions below.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin disorder in which certain areas become inflamed due to a number of different circumstances. This disorder comes in many different severities and appearances, but many of the symptoms are similar across the board. And considering that it affects almost 32% of the population, eczema is one of the most common skin disorders. Some patients may outgrow this condition, while others carry it throughout their lives. But what does eczema look and feel like?
As discussed above, eczema can come in all shapes and forms. Here are a few of the most common eczema symptoms that patients typically deal with:
Dry, sensitive skin. This typically occurs on exposed areas such as hands, elbows, arms, and legs. It can get especially bad in cold weather.
Red, inflamed patches of skin. Inflammation is a key symptom of eczema. It can be the result of a number of external factors, such as scented lotions or clothing irritating the skin.
Excessive itchiness. Itchy patches of skin may also appear as inflamed or red.
Patches of scaly or tough skin. These patches of skin are particularly sensitive. If picked at or scratched, they may leave open wounds that are prone to infection.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to treat eczema symptoms. If you're concerned about experiencing the above eczema symptoms, it could be time to talk to your dermatologist about one of the following treatments.
While it's always best to work with your dermatologist on an eczema treatment plan, that plan will involve taking certain steps in the comfort of your own home. You may need to change up your routine a little bit or forego things that you once enjoyed, but these actions will likely help relieve your eczema symptoms. Some of the most common home treatments for eczema include:
Ditching hot baths and showers. Hot water strips away the skin's natural oils, making it prone to dryness and cracking. Stick to lukewarm baths and try to bathe for a shorter time.
Avoiding rough, scratchy fabrics. Instead, opt for fabrics like cotton, which are soft, breathable, and can still be worn during the colder months.
Use a humidifier. When the air in your home is bone dry, your skin is going to dry out even faster. Using a humidifier can help keep more moisture in the air and in your skin.
There are a variety of eczema creams you may be able to purchase over the counter, but at the end of the day, it's best to work with your dermatologist if you need a stronger treatment for your eczema. There are several treatments that are typically effective in treating eczema symptoms:
Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments. These anti-inflammatory treatments are applied directly to the skin. In most cases, they can take care of the majority of eczema symptoms.
Systemic corticosteroids. When topical creams aren't getting the job done, it's possible to take a more direct approach to treatment. Systemic treatments are administered either orally or via injection. For severe cases of eczema, systemic treatments may be more effective.
Antihistamines. This treatment is most commonly used to reduce symptoms of itching, especially at night. It can be administered topically or orally.
Phototherapy. This is one of the most intense treatment options for eczema, as it requires set medical appointments and close monitoring. This treatment can only be administered by a licensed dermatologist.
Treating eczema is possible, and in most cases, effective. You don't have to suffer through your eczema symptoms forever. If you want to learn more about how eczema treatments could help you, set up an appointment with SE Dermatology Specialists today.