Eczema, known as the itch that rages, is a chronic skin condition that causes red and inflamed patches of skin. Eczema affects people of all ages but is most common in infancy and adulthood. There is no cure for eczema, but it can be managed with the proper treatment. Eczema commonly occurs in dry and humid environments because they trigger an itch response from the body to protect itself. However, this reaction becomes a problem when it recurs again and again. The best way to prevent eczema is to maintain a natural balance between the two extremes. If you are living with eczema or suspect you may have it, read on for everything you need to know about this annoying condition in our
How do you know if you have eczema?
The symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions overlap significantly, making it challenging to precisely identify what you may be experiencing. However, eczema is often characterized by itchy, flaky, red patches of skin. These patches are most commonly found on the hands and forearms but can grow anywhere on the body. For example, facial eczema is also standard, and the leading common causes of eczema around eyes are atopic, contact, and seborrheic dermatitis, as well as exposure to allergens or irritants. It is also common to experience a burning or stinging sensation anywhere on the body where eczema is present. If you are experiencing a lot of itching and burning, you may have eczema. You can also visit your dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis if you are unsure. It’s essential to keep in mind that not all redness on the skin is eczema. You can experience redness due to other conditions like allergies, irritation, or sunburn.
What are the types of eczema?
There are many different types of eczema with varying degrees of severity. The most common types of eczema are atopic dermatitis, seborrheic eczema, ichthyosis vulgaris, and contact dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is the most severe form of eczema as it is marked by extreme itching, redness, and skin thickening. A leading cause of childhood eczema is food allergies, so eliminating certain food groups from your diet can help. Seborrheic eczema is a common form of eczema on the scalp and face that can be treated with over-the-counter shampoos and creams. Ichthyosis vulgaris is a dehydrated and thickened form of eczema that can be treated with ointments, moisturizers, and light therapy. Contact dermatitis is eczema that occurs as a reaction to an irritant. Common irritants include poison ivy/oak, nickel, and certain types of clothing.
Symptoms of eczema
The symptoms of eczema are primarily itching, redness, and skin irritation. These symptoms can range from mild to extreme and be present anywhere on the body. If the rash extends beyond the skin and into the bloodstream, the individual may experience symptoms of infection, such as fever, chills, joint pain, abnormal bleeding, and weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, you must visit a doctor to confirm what you have and begin treatment as soon as possible.
Causes of eczema
The reason behind the development of eczema is not well understood. While some people are also more likely to develop allergies and asthma, there is no definitive cause for these conditions. Eczema is most commonly diagnosed during childhood, and the condition can last into adulthood. The causes of eczema are not fully understood. It is thought that there is a combination of external and internal factors, such as stress, diet, genetics, and environment. Perhaps the most common external cause is dry and irritable skin brought on by weather conditions like extreme temperatures, humidity, and low air quality. The severity of the eczema is triggered by the body’s reaction to these external factors. Internal factors, such as allergies, certain bacteria, and enzymes, are triggered by the external triggers, exacerbating the eczema symptoms.
Eczema treatment: over-the-counter options
There are several over-the-counter options for eczema. Moisturizing creams can help prevent the skin from drying out and cracking, which is good since those symptoms usually lead to infection. Creams with colloidal oatmeal are a good choice as they are enriched with anti-inflammatory properties and help calm the itching sensation. Barrier creams are enriched with ingredients that protect the skin from infection. They can be applied in addition to moisturizing creams or used as a substitute if you are experiencing extremely dry skin. Scrubs are excellent for exfoliating the skin and removing dead skin cells. In addition, exfoliation can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and scars associated with eczema. Finally, ointments are an excellent option for treating cracked and bleeding skin as they hydrate the skin and relieve itching.
Eczema treatment: prescription options
Corticosteroids are prescribed for the most extreme cases of eczema. This medication comes in pill, liquid, and topical form and works by reducing inflammation and preventing itching. Because corticosteroids are so potent, they should be used sparingly and only as a last resort. They carry many side effects, including thinning of the skin, infection, and mood swings. Immunosuppressants are a type of steroidal medication that has a broader impact on the body. This treatment is reserved for chronic and severe cases of eczema and is often used with other medications. Antibiotics are recommended in addition to other remedies when your eczema gets infected. They kill bacteria that can cause staph infections, like MRSA.
Staying hydrated for eczema relief
Keeping hydrated is key to preventing eczema flare-ups and managing existing outbreaks. Dehydration is one of the primary triggers for eczema, so it is vital to keep yourself hydrated at all times. If you are living with eczema, you must track your water intake to ensure you are getting enough. You can track your water intake by keeping a water bottle by your side at all times and filling it up as needed. What you put in your water can have a significant impact as well. Try adding citrus fruits, cucumber, or other fruits and vegetables high in water content to boost your skin’s hydration.
Tips to ease the itch and irritation
Applying moisturizer to dry areas of the skin can help reduce the itching sensation and ease any discomfort. In addition, adding moisture to the air can help ease the itching feeling associated with dry skin. Cooling creams are enriched with menthol, camphor, and other ingredients that provide relief from the itching sensation. Taking a hot bath with Epsom salt can help ease the itchiness and hydrate your skin.
Things that cause eczema flare-ups
The connection between stress and flare-ups isn’t well understood, but it is a common cause of eczema. In addition, certain foods and food additives trigger eczema in some people. Dairy, peanuts, gluten, soy, and eggs are the most common culprits. Finally, extreme temperatures and low air quality can trigger eczema.
If you are living with eczema, managing the itching and irritation caused by the condition can be challenging. The best way to prevent and manage eczema is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow an eczema treatment plan. Begin by tracking your water intake and ensuring you get the recommended daily amount. Also, try adding fruits and vegetables to your water for an extra hydration boost. Next, keep your hands and skin clean to prevent infection. Then, apply moisturizer to your skin daily to keep it hydrated and prevent flare-ups. Finally, follow an eczema diet to reduce your risk of outbreaks.