Eczema

Eczema is not a single condition, rather it is a collection of various skin diseases that cause patches of skin to become rough, inflamed, itchy and sometimes results in bleeding.

With over 30 million Americans demonstrating symptoms, eczema is an issue that dermatologists treat often. While it is prevalent in babies, adults can develop eczema as well. Since there are 11 different types of eczema, a dermatologist will try to pinpoint exactly what is causing symptoms in order to provide the best treatment. A dermatologist will take a close look at the dry and scaly patches and/or rash. They may inquire as to when these symptoms first appeared and whether any blood relatives have eczema, hay fever or asthma. Oftentimes, this is all that is needed to diagnose eczema. If allergy testing is necessary, your dermatologist will inform you.

Treating Your Eczema

A treatment plan will be created by your dermatologist that is unique to your needs. It is important to follow the plan prescribed by your doctor.

Most of these plans include:
  • skin care
  • medical therapies
  • tips to avoid flare ups

The exact treatment plan that is best for you and your eczema will depend on your medical history, eczema type, and personal preferences. Many treatments can help control eczema. Preventing itchiness or discomfort can be as simple as eliminating possible allergic triggers such as certain laundry detergents or avoiding wearing certain fabrics such as wool.

The most important step to treating this issue is to keep the skin well moisturized:
  • Take a lukewarm shower for no more than 10 minutes.
  • Use a mild soap with little fragrance.
  • Dry your skin very carefully with the towel. Do not aggressively dry.
  • Use a mild, fragrance-free lotion.
  • The final piece of advice is to stop scratching. Scratching itchy skin may make symptoms more pronounced and could irritate the skin further.

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.

Eczema Treatment for Children

At-home treatment is almost always recommended for children before any cream or medication is prescribed. Be sure to keep skin well moisturized and avoid any products that seem to irritate skin.