Eczema is a common skin condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. Common triggers include: Irritants – such as soaps and detergents. Environmental factors or allergens – such as cold and dry weather, dampness, and more specific things such as house dust mites, pet fur, pollen and mold.
Causes and Symptoms of Eczema
Are you struggling with itchy, dry skin? It may be eczema.
Eczema, a type of dermatitis, is a common skin condition that affects 31 million Americans. There are a variety of causes, ranging from environmental factors to genetics. Some people have a gene variation that affects the skin’s ability to provide protection to itself. This weak barrier may also trigger an immune system response that causes inflamed skin and other symptoms.
In other people, atopic dermatitis is caused by too much of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus on the skin. This displaces helpful bacteria and disrupts the skin’s barrier function. Dermatitis is a reaction to triggers on the skin and in the environment. Some include dry skin, heat and sweat, stress, dust mites, mold, smoke, cold air, and more.
What can eczema look like?
Eczema is usually chronic, however, those with the condition use the term “flare-ups” when they’re experiencing one or more acute symptoms or side effects from prolonged itchiness. These times can last many days or up to weeks.
Psoriasis is a condition that presents very similarly to eczema. Often, those get the symptoms confused. Psoriasis tends to cause less itching. If you’re experiencing symptoms and are unsure, speak to our board-certified dermatologists.
Eczema can appear as:
Dry or itchy skin
Rashes and scaly patches
Facts about eczema
The more you know about eczema, the easier you can detect it in yourself and your loved ones. Educate yourself on what to look out for below:
Although eczema is common in children, it can occur any time in your life
It often appears in creases of the skin, or areas where your skin rubs against each other, such as behind the knees, elbows, and lower legs
It is not contagious
People with eczema are at risk of developing food allergies, hay fever, and asthma
There are seven different types of eczema: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis
AD is the leading contributor to skin-related disability and ranks 15th among all non-fatal diseases globally. The burden is highest in children and women.
What can you do to prevent eczema flare-ups?
If you are prone to dermatitis, then it’s more important than ever to keep up with your skincare. Keeping your skin clean and moisturized helps irritants stay away and keeps the skin calm. Use fragrance-free creams, ointments, and moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated without irritating it. If you’re a parent, using petroleum jelly on your baby’s skin may help prevent the development of atopic dermatitis.
Keeping your skin clean is just as important. Aim to bathe daily in warm – not hot – water. Cleanse your skin with a product that’s free of dyes, alcohol, and fragrance. Avoid antibacterial soap, it can remove too much of the skin’s natural oils and dry the skin. Avoid soap with small children, it can be especially irritating to their skin. Pat your skin dry gently with a soft towel after cleansing and moisturize after. A dermatologist can craft a customized hygiene and skincare routine for you.
How is eczema treated?
Most treatments for eczema are topical. Your dermatologist may prescribe you a steroid cream, however, many treatments are over the counter. Your doctor can recommend a moisturizer or antihistamine.
Every case of eczema is different, and factors such as age, other medical conditions, and daily physical environment will affect which treatment suits you best. Not everyone will respond to the same treatment plan the same way. Schedule an appointment with our expert dermatologist so we can review your case and build a custom eczema treatment plan that works for you.
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Yakima, Washington 98902
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