We understand the frustration and discomfort of having eczema, as many have experienced it first-hand. It is estimated that one in five children and adolescents have atopic dermatitis – the most common type of eczema – worldwide.
In this blog post, we will cover all you need to know about understanding eczema from symptoms and causes through to treatment options and lifestyle management precautions for prevention.
Start reading now if you want to get ahead of your skin condition!
We can gain a comprehensive understanding of eczema by looking into its common types, symptoms and causes.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition that causes dry, itchy and inflamed patches. It can cause recurrent infections if not treated properly and significantly reduce quality of life for those affected by it.
Symptoms include itchiness, red rashes which may sometimes turn blistery or oozing with scaly patches caused due to the scratching habit developed over time. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema and occurs when the skin’s barrier does not protect against moisture loss nor irritants such as bacteria or allergens in its environment.
Although there is no complete cure for eczema yet, often treatments involve both medical intervention like creams and ointments along with lifestyle changes including good skincare routines to keep flare-ups under control.
COMMON TYPES AND SYMPTOMS OF ECZEMA
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema, and it can cause inflamed, itchy, cracked skin that may blister or ooze. Other forms of eczema include contact dermatitis, nummular dermatitis, discoid eczema, dyshidrotic eczema and stasis dermatitis.
CAUSES AND TRIGGERS OF ECZEMA
Many cases of eczema are caused by genetic factors, environmental triggers like exposure to certain allergens and irritants, as well as allergies and sensitivities.
Genetic factors play an important role in the development of eczema, particularly atopic dermatitis. Having a family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever or asthma is a major risk factor for developing it.
In fact, research reveals that more than half of people with atopic dermatitis have relatives with similar conditions. Those who don’t have any family history are less likely to develop the condition.
Though genetic links are strong, environmental triggers such as stress and irritants or allergens can also cause flare-ups in individuals prone to eczema due to their genetic makeup – meaning those who already have genes predisposed them toward having eczema may find themselves susceptible to certain environments leading to potential symptoms flaring up (or worsening).
When it comes to eczema, your environment can greatly affect your condition. Common environmental triggers include smoke, pollen, soaps and fragrances. Airborne allergens such as dust mites, moulds and pet dander can also trigger reactions in those with eczema.
These substances can act as irritants or trigger an allergic reaction that leads to skin inflammation. Certain foods like nuts and dairy may also worsen symptoms of this condition too.
It’s important for someone with eczema to recognize what their triggers are, so they can work towards avoiding them or managing any flare-ups better. Individuals should use caution when choosing skincare products in order to minimize irritating the skin further by using fragranced soaps or lotions which contain potentially harmful chemicals instead of milder formulas specifically designed for sensitive skin types.
Allergies and sensitivities
Many people with eczema are sensitive to specific allergens and environmental triggers, such as pet dander, dust mites, pollen, mold spores, certain fabrics or detergents. When these triggers come in contact with the skin of someone with eczema, they can trigger an inflammatory reaction that leads to flare-ups.
Atopic dermatitis (the most common form of eczema) has been linked to food allergies in some cases. People who have atopic dermatitis may experience hay fever and asthma along with their skin reactions; this is known as the “atopic triad”.
Sometimes a particular type of contact dermatitis can develop; this form of eczema develops when a person has an allergic reaction to an irritant on the skin. Common irritants include harsh soaps or chemicals found in everyday products like make-up or hair dye.
To manage their condition effectively it is important for individuals to be aware of their allergies and sensitivities and identify any potential triggers that might lead to an eczema flare-up.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR ECZEMA
There are several effective treatments available to manage eczema, including topical creams and ointments, moisturizers and emollients, antihistamines, steroids and immunosuppressants, phototherapy and light therapy.
Topical creams and ointments
We often use topical creams and ointments as treatment for eczema. This includes the application of chemical or natural substances, such as pastes and lotions, to localize the area of skin affected. Some common types of topical cream/ointment formulations include calcineurin inhibitors like tacrolimus, topical immunomodulators (TIMs) such as Elidel cream and Protopic ointment, moisturizers, antihistamines, corticosteroid creams, etc.
Moisturizers and emollients
Moisturizers and emollients are an essential part of treating eczema. These medical moisturizers help to soothe, moisturize, and protect the skin. They can ease symptoms that cause dryness, cracking, or scaling such as dermatitis or psoriasis. Moisturizers and emollients are recommended as the core treatment for atopic dermatitis by guidelines on managing the condition.
Topical creams and ointments also play a role in helping people with eczema manage their symptoms – including those associated with allergies and sensitivities – which could include redness, itching or burning sensations. Ongoing use of these products can lessen flare-ups of symptoms over time while ensuring proper skincare routine helps maintain healthy skin moisture levels even during periods without flares up.
Antihistamines are a common go-to treatment option for eczema patients. These medications block the action of histamine, a chemical in our body that is involved in allergic reactions and inflammation.
Taking antihistamines can help reduce itching and irritation associated with eczema flare-ups, while also reducing skin redness and discoloration caused by the condition. Antihistamines should always be taken under the advice of your doctor or allergist to ensure proper use.
In addition to taking medication orally, antihistamines can also be applied directly to affected areas as topical creams or ointments. While these medications may relieve some symptoms of eczema, they should not replace other treatment options like emollients or moisturizers which helps maintain healthy skin hydration levels that are important for managing this condition over time.
Steroids and immunosuppressants
Steroids and immunosuppressants are commonly prescribed when treating eczema. Non-steroid medications such as antihistamines and topical creams or ointments can be effective for mild cases, but sometimes stronger treatments are required.
Steroid medications come in a variety of forms including oral prednisone, steroids that are applied directly to the skin, ointment, and injections. In moderate or severe cases they may be prescribed to reduce inflammation quickly and suppress eczema flare-ups.
High potency steroids may also be used preventatively against frequent periods of flares up caused by environmental triggers like heat or humidity. Meanwhile, immunosuppressant drugs work by blocking chemicals like histamine which causes inflammation in the skin associated with eczema flare-ups; however these drugs should only be taken under medical supervision due to their potential side effects.
Phototherapy and light therapy
Phototherapy and light therapy are highly effective treatment options for people with eczema, especially when used in combination with topical medications and lifestyle changes. This type of therapy involves exposing the affected area to a specific wavelength of ultraviolet (UV) light.
Commonly used is narrowband UVB (NB-UVB) light, which is designed to target only the most skin damaging wavelengths of UV radiation while minimizing exposure risks. The exposure helps reduce inflammation and reduces itching associated with eczema.
In some cases, phototherapy can even reduce the need for topical corticosteroid creams or other medications commonly prescribed for treating eczema symptoms. Additionally, studies have shown that NB-UVB offers more long-term relief than traditional systems using wide spectrum UVA light or short wave UVB lights often found in tanning beds.
LIFESTYLE MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION
From avoiding triggers and irritants to proper skincare routines, stress management and dietary considerations, there are a number of strategies that can help manage eczema and reduce its severity.
Avoiding triggers and irritants
- Identifying and being aware of environmental triggers is one of the best ways to prevent flare – ups. Common triggers are smoke, pollen, soaps and fragrances.
- Avoid exposure to dust mites by washing bedding regularly in hot water and vacuuming frequently.
- Wearing clothing made with breathable fabrics like cotton or bamboo can help reduce skin irritation from sweat and fabric material that may be irritating.
- Chemicals present in everyday items such as lotions, detergents, and perfumes can trigger eczema flares; opt for natural products instead when possible.
- Certain foods such as dairy, nuts, eggs, soybeans or wheat can also act as triggers; it’s important to know which ones could affect you personally. Keep a journal detailing what food items are eaten every day if necessary– this can help narrow down potential irritants quickly after recognizing an eczema flare-up has occurred following certain meals or snacks.
Proper skincare routines
It is important to develop and stick to a daily skin care routine when managing eczema. This involves gentle cleansing with mild soaps or cleansers, moisturizing twice per day, and protecting the skin from sensory irritants.
It is important to understand that stress can worsen eczema symptoms, and it’s important to learn ways to manage and reduce levels of stress. To improve your skin condition, it’s essential to dedicate time for activities that are known to lower both physical and emotional stress.
Practicing regular relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation can help you reduce anxiety associated with eczema and better manage flares. Regular exercise such as walking, swimming, dancing or running has been linked with reduced levels of cortisol production which can lead to fewer flare-ups too.
Eating a healthy diet full of fibre rich foods, avoiding processed foods high in sugar content, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day will also aid in reducing inflammation associated with eczema outbreaks.
When it comes to managing and preventing eczema, dietary modifications can play an important role. Adding vegetables, organic foods, and omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil to the diet can improve skin condition in individuals with eczema.
Elimination diets may also help identify specific food allergies that can worsen symptoms of eczema. For children with atopic dermatitis, nutrition is known to prevent the onset or worsening of their condition.
Additionally, avoiding sugar and processed foods helps reduce inflammation which further supports better control over flare-ups. While changing one’s diet can help manage and prevent eczema flares, there is no cure for this chronic skin disorder so all available treatments should be discussed with a healthcare professional for proper care management.
Support and education
Support and education are essential for individuals managing eczema. Visiting a medical professional is the first step towards understanding what triggers flare-ups in people, how to manage their condition better, and make lifestyle adjustments necessary to reduce symptoms.
Seeing as associations between eczema, allergies, and skin sensitivities can be complex, individuals will benefit from a detailed consultation with an expert who can provide them with solutions tailored to their individual needs.
Support groups can also help those suffering from repeated episodes of this chronic condition take charge of their health and build a sense of community they do not have access to otherwise.
Therapists specializing in mental health issues related to living with physical ailments such as eczema -such as dermatologist anxiety or stress brought on by having visible skin problems-can support patients significantly through the challenges they are going through mentally while improving quality of daily life drastically too.
Educational resources such as books written by experts that discuss different aspects associated with eczema are also invaluable when it comes down to seeking knowledge about the topic in depth without leaving any room for doubts or misunderstandings regarding symptoms management recommendations presented within them.
Eczema is a common skin condition that can cause itchiness, dryness, and inflammation of the skin. It is often linked to allergies and asthma, but its exact cause remains unknown. Recent developments in treatment have made it possible for individuals with eczema to manage their symptoms more effectively.
Topical creams, ointments, moisturizers and emollients are commonly used to reduce itching or swelling. Steroids and immunosuppressants may also be prescribed by healthcare professionals when necessary.
In addition to treatments prescribed by your doctor, lifestyle management plays an important role in controlling flare-ups of eczema. Avoiding known triggers or allergens while managing stress levels and maintaining a healthy diet can make a significant difference towards symptom relief over time.
Overall, it’s essential for those living with eczema to work with medical professionals throughout their journey as they help provide individualized guidance and treatment plans tailored specifically for each patient’s needs — whether that’s determining proper skin care routines or exploring other alternative therapies such as phototherapy or light therapy.
Stay ahead in your aesthetic journey with the latest advancements in the field. We pride ourselves on offering state-of-the-art treatments that are both effective and safe, delivering noticeable results that stand the test of time.
Contact us now to schedule your personalised consultation and take the first step towards a more confident you.