Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic life-long skin condition characterized by itching and rash. Body areas affected can change over time, commonly including the face, inner elbows, and back of the knees.
With eczema the skin is dry and often cracks and oozes during flare-ups. The skin's immune system overreacts to environmental and emotional triggers, causing flare-ups. These triggers can include irritants (such as chemicals), allergens (such as food, dust, or mold) and stress.
Avoid Triggers of Itching:
- Heat and Perspiration
- Emotional Stress
- Flushing foods such as hot and spicy foods, hot drinks like coffee, tea and hot chocolate, and soy and vinegar
For those with eczema, it is very helpful to identify and avoid exposure to such triggers. Because there are so many potential triggers, allergy skin testing is critical to help in determining a successful treatment plan. Early recognition and treatment of eczema symptoms will often prevent more serious flare-ups.
During a flare-up, the dry and cracked skin can be incredibly uncomfortable and itchy. It's important to resist the urge to scratch, as this can worsen the condition and lead to infection. Instead, try applying a gentle moisturizer to soothe the skin and keep it hydrated. Search for products that specifically formulate for sensitive skin and do not contain fragrances and harsh chemicals.
In addition to avoiding triggers, managing stress levels is also crucial for those with eczema. Stress can exacerbate symptoms and trigger flare-ups, so finding healthy coping mechanisms is essential. Engaging in activities like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
If you suspect that certain foods may be triggering your eczema, keeping a food diary can be helpful. Write down everything you eat and note any changes in your symptoms. This can help you identify potential food allergens and work with a healthcare professional to develop a suitable diet plan.
Remember, early intervention is key in managing eczema. If you're experiencing symptoms such as redness, itching, or oozing skin, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment for evaluation. Our team is here to help you find relief from eczema and improve your quality of life with support and guidance.
- Antihistamines reduce itching. You can use non-sedating products such as Allegra, Clarinex, Claritin, Zyrtec, and Xyzal during the daytime and nighttime. Use only as directed.
- Don't take old sedating antihistamines like Benadryl, chlorpheniramine and hydroxyzine during the day, especially when using heavy machinery or driving. Also consider if your child is in school they need to be alert to learn.
- Keep the skin moist. We recommend a daily bath lasting at least 20 minutes, followed by an application of a lubricant (soak and seal).
- Use lukewarm water, not hot, in the bath. Use a gentle soap with moisturizers added such as Dove, Basis or Neutrogena. Soaps should be non-scented. Don't use bubble baths or deodorant soap.
- Baths are more effective than showers.
- Dry areas on the face, head, and neck may require compresses to moisten the skin. Avoid washcloths, rubbing and scrubbing.
- Immediately after a bath, pat dry, don't rub, and apply any prescribed medicated creams and ointments. Then apply Vaseline or fragrance-free cream or ointment to seal the water in the skin.
- To keep your skin soft, use a moisturizer such as Eucerin, Aquaphor or Vani cream. Apply it twice a day or as needed. You can also use over-the-counter medicated creams.
- Vaseline works better than other lubricants and especially if applied at night. Warm the Vaseline 10-15 seconds in the microwave before applying. Be sure to moisten the skin before applying Vaseline.
- In colder weather, use a cool mist vaporizer or humidifier with your furnace to keep the air moist in your home.
- Use medicated creams properly:
- You should use medicated creams only as directed.
- Always apply medicated creams before lubricating creams.
- Do not refill prescription creams without having an office visit every 6-12 months.
Watch for Infection:
- Observe for increased crusting and oozing of the skin, you may need an antibiotic to control infection. Notify your provider if eczema flares for no apparent reason.
- Watch for early signs of eczema flare-ups such as itchy, dry skin. When this happens, pay close attention to the use of lubricants and use medicated creams only as directed.