When you think about eczema, you might imagine itchy, red, dry, scaly, or thickened skin. However, this ongoing condition isn’t a specific disease. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a term used to describe skin conditions that result in rash-like symptoms. People dealing with eczema often have a weakened skin barrier that lets moisture escape and irritants enter, causing dryness and inflammation.
The precise cause of eczema remains not entirely understood. Yet, researchers believe it’s triggered by an overactive immune system. Scientific studies have also indicated a genetic aspect to eczema, meaning that if others in your family have a history of eczema, you’re at a higher risk of developing it too. What we do comprehend is that those with eczema tend to experience symptoms, commonly referred to as flare-ups, when exposed to specific triggers.
Eczema typically emerges in infancy or early childhood and can persist into adulthood. However, flare-ups can happen at any age. It’s crucial to take the initial diagnosis seriously. As environmental factors likely play a role, it’s advisable to meticulously document every change that occurs in your skin, including the time of day, seasons, diet, activities, and any diagnoses. This additional information will aid in better communication with your medical doctor, enabling them to treat the symptoms more effectively.
An eczema flare-up occurs when one or more eczema symptoms appear on the skin. Common triggers encompass:
– Chemicals or preservatives in cleansers and detergents
– Scented products
– Cigarette smoke
– External allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, or dust mites
– Rough, scratchy materials like wool
– Synthetic fabrics
– Changes in temperature
– Food allergies
– Animal dander
– Upper respiratory infections
Your treatment should be tailored to your unique circumstances, as various factors can lead to flare-ups. Strive to identify and avoid what triggers or exacerbates your eczema. The objective is to alleviate itching and discomfort, prevent infections, and minimize the occurrence of flare-ups.
As of now, there is no cure for eczema, whether natural or otherwise. The treatment goal is to mitigate symptoms, facilitate skin healing, prevent further damage, and avert flare-ups. Medications, moisturizers, and at-home skincare routines all play a role in an effective treatment plan.
Topical corticosteroids are the primary treatment for eczema flare-ups. These ointments, creams, or lotions, applied directly to affected skin areas, can:
– Diminish inflammation
– Manage allergic reactions
– Ease irritation or soreness
– Reduce itching and the urge to scratch
Topical corticosteroids come in varying strengths, ranging from the most potent (1) to the mildest (7), and are most effective when used within three minutes of bathing.
Systemic corticosteroids are typically recommended for short durations due to potentially severe side effects like osteoporosis, hair loss, and gastrointestinal issues.
Alongside seeking medical guidance, individuals with eczema can adopt some measures to alleviate itching and reduce reliance on medication. Recognizing and avoiding triggers is crucial in managing flare-ups. Experts advise regular moisturization, scrutinizing product labels to dodge triggering fragrances and managing stress effectively.
The diet also plays a role in identifying triggers. Experimenting with the elimination and gradual reintroduction of certain foods may help identify triggers. Consult a doctor or dermatologist for insights into how diet might impact eczema. If other methods prove ineffective, consulting an allergist for a patch test could be considered.