How to manage eczema effectively?
Eczema is a type of skin condition which causes itchy patches and dryness of the skin. It is a very common condition and is not contagious. So far, there hasn’t been any cure for eczema but the symptoms can be managed.
Eczema is one type of dermatitis. This condition weakens your skin barrier that is responsible for retaining moisture and protecting the body from environmental factors.
Types of eczema:
There are many types of eczema which can affect your skin barrier and has unique triggers including,
It is possible for a person to have more than one eczema type at the same time. Eczema can affect any person at any age. The symptoms usually start during childhood and last to adulthood. You might be at risk of eczema if you have a genetic diagnosis of,
How does eczema occur?
The first visible signs of eczema are dry skin, itchiness and rashes. These symptoms indicate that you have come into contact with some environmental factor that has triggered your skin condition and caused your symptoms to flare up. Identifying these environmental triggers and staying away from them can reduce your risk of eczema flare in your future. But this is difficult in children. Still, you can identify eczema with some basic symptoms like,
Bumps on the skin
Scaly or flaky skin
Symptoms of eczema can show up anywhere in your body like hands, face, neck, ankles, elbow, feet, knees, around and inside the ears, and lips. Eczema doesn’t exactly hurt but, if you scratch your skin, you could create a sore by breaking the skin which could be painful. There are few types of eczema that could give a burning sensation like contact dermatitis.
Causes of eczema:
Many factors like,
Environment: Your environment has a lot of triggers that can cause irritation to your skin like smoke, harsh soaps, pollutants, fabrics like wool, and certain skin care products. low humidity can make your skin dry and itchy. Even high humidity and heat are prone to cause sweating which can make itchiness even worse.
Genes: You are more likely to be prone to eczema if you have a family history of dermatitis or eczema. Even a history of hay fever, asthma or allergies can trigger eczema. You could be susceptible to pollen, foods or pet hair that could cause an allergic reaction or have genetic mutation which could cause your skin barrier function to weaken.
Immune system: If you are prone to eczema, your immune system reacts to small allergens or irritants from the environment. When you come in contact with an allergen, your immune system assumes that they are foreign invaders like a virus or bacteria that can harm your body. This results in the allergens activating the body’s natural defence system which creates inflammation. This causes symptoms of eczema on your skin.
Emotional triggers: Your mental health is important when it comes to eczema. An emotional flare up can cause eczema. High levels of anxiety, stress or depression, you may be prone to frequent occurrence of eczema.
What triggers eczema?
Eczema affects every individual differently with different conditions. What might cause your eczema to trigger might not be the cause for another person. Some common triggers of eczema include,
Smoke & pollutants
Touching something that can cause allergies
There are certain foods that also cause eczema to flare up like,
Diagnosis of eczema:
Any healthcare provider, preferable a dermatologist, will diagnose eczema after conducting a physical examination. Since eczema is common among children, often people receive an eczema diagnosis as a child. But a diagnosis is common at any age. Symptoms of eczema may look like other skin conditions. Your physician may offer diagnosis that rule out other conditions and confirm your allergy. Tests include,
A skin biopsy
An allergy test
How to manage eczema?
Any treatment you go for will be unique to you as eczema is unique with each individual person. An eczema cannot be cured, instead it can only be managed and treatments include,
Using sensitive or gentle skin care moisturizers throughout the day when the weather is dry or when you have dry skin. Applying moisturizer after a bath will trap the moisture onto your skin.
Take oral anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce itchiness or swelling.
Light topical medicines can be applied on the skin as advised by your dermatologist.
Immunosuppressant drugs aid in regulating your immune system function.
Even though eczema is a condition that doesn’t have a definite cure, through dietary and lifestyle changes, the severity of eczema can be managed. There is an opportunity to prevent eczema in pregnant women by identifying the risks and supporting their health with proper supplements and nutrition prenatally. If you find any sort of symptoms among your friends or acquaintances, then advise them to go to a qualified dermatologist. This will help them manage their eczema.