What is eczema?
It is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, and irritated. Aka atopic dermatitis. The exact cause of eczema is not descriptive, but Genetic and environmental factors are generally responsible. It’s symptoms can vary, but commonly include dry, itchy skin, rashes, and redness. There is no cure for eczema, but it’s maintenance is via a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and other treatments.
What are some signs and symptoms of eczema?
The signs and symptoms of eczema can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include:
- Itchy, dry skin
- Red, inflamed patches of skin
- Rashes or hives on the skin
- Crusting or flaking of the skin
- Scaly or thickened skin
- Blisters that may ooze or crust
- Dark colored patches of skin (in darker skin tones)
Symptoms can appear anywhere on the body, but one can commonly find them on the face, neck, elbow, and knee. The severity of symptoms can also vary, and some people may experience only mild symptoms, while others may have more severe symptoms. Symptoms can also flare up or worsen due to triggers such as dry skin, stress, or exposure to irritants.
Diagnosis of Eczema:
It is typically diagnosed by a healthcare professional based on a physical examination of the skin and the patient’s medical history. A doctor or dermatologist will look for the typical signs and it’s symptoms, such as dry, itchy skin, redness, and rashes. They may also ask about any family history of eczema or other allergic conditions.
In some cases, a skin biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other skin conditions. A skin biopsy involves removing a small sample of skin for examination under a microscope.
Additionally, blood tests or patch tests may be done to identify any allergies or irritants that may be triggering it.
Overall, the diagnosis is mostly based on the clinical presentation of the symptoms and the doctor’s examination and some test may be done to confirm and help to find the triggers if any.
What are common triggers?
It is a condition that can be triggered by various factors, which can vary from person to person. Common triggers include:
- Dry skin: Cold weather, low humidity, and frequent bathing or hand washing can cause dry skin, which can trigger it.
- Irritants: Exposure to certain chemicals, soaps, detergents, and other irritants can cause eczema to flare up.
- Allergens: Exposure to certain allergens, such as pollen, pet dander, or dust mites, can cause eczema to flare up in some people.
- Stress: Stress can worsen eczema symptoms.
- Hormonal changes: Eczema symptoms can be worse during pregnancy or menopause.
- Sweating: Sweating can cause it’s symptoms to worsen, especially in hot and humid weather.
- Certain foods: Some people with eczema may have food allergies that can trigger symptoms.
How can I soothe and treat the condition?
There is no cure for eczema, but it’s maintenance is via a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and other treatments.. Some common ways to soothe and treat eczema include:
- Moisturizing: Moisturizing is one of the most important things you can do to soothe eczema-affected skin. Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer several times a day to help reduce dryness and itching.
- Medications: Topical creams and ointments, such as corticosteroids, can help reduce inflammation and itching. Oral medications, such as antihistamines, can also help in controlling itching.
- Avoid triggers: Identifying and avoiding your personal triggers, such as certain foods, allergens, and irritants, can help prevent eczema flare-ups.
- Bathing and showering: A warm bath or shower with a gentle, fragrance-free soap can help hydrate the skin and reduce itching. Avoid hot water and prolonged bathing or showering.
- Clothing: Wear soft, breathable clothing made of cotton or other natural fibers to help reduce irritation.
- Stress management: Stress can worsen eczema symptoms, so finding ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or talking to a therapist, can help control eczema.
- Phototherapy: Light therapy can help in reducing it’s symptoms.
It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to develop an eczema treatment plan that is right for you. Some treatments may work better for some people than others, and it may take some time to find the right combination of treatments to effectively manage eczema.