Atopic dermatitis (eczema) – Symptoms and causes
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that affects people of all ages. It is a chronic condition that causes itchy, dry, red, scaly patches, blisters, and skin infections. There are several types of eczema, namely atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis, also referred to as atopic eczema, is the most common type of eczema.
The exact cause is unknown, but studies have shown that people develop eczema due to the interaction between genes and environmental triggers. People with eczema may have gene variation that affects the skin’s ability to maintain moisture, leading to dryness and irritation. Environmental factors such as allergens, irritants and stress can trigger flare-ups.
Symptoms of eczema include:
- Inflamed, discolored skin.
- Rough, leathery, or scaly skin, appearing as scaly patches.
- Oozing or crusting
- Areas of swelling
There is no cure for eczema, but there are many treatments available to manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Treatment options include:
- Moisturizers: Applying a moisturizer regularly can help soothe dry, itchy skin and prevent flare-ups.
- Topical corticosteroids: These are anti-inflammatory medications that can reduce redness and inflammation.
- Immunosuppressants: These medications can help regulate the immune system functions.
- Antibiotics: If eczema becomes infected, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection.
- Light therapy: Exposure to UV light can help reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms.
In addition, there are many self-care measures that people with eczema can take to manage their symptoms, including:
- Avoiding triggers: Identifying and avoiding triggers such as certain foods, stress, and environmental factors can help prevent flare-ups.
- Moisturizing at least twice a day: Seal in moisture after a bath or shower by immediately applying a moisturizer. Creams, ointments, shea butter and lotions can be used.
- Take daily baths/shower: Use warm water and limit bath time to about 10 minutes. Scrubbing with washcloth or loofah should be avoided.
- Gentle skin care: Use a cleanser that is free of dye, alcohol and fragrance.
- Manage stress and emotional triggers: Stress can trigger eczema flare-ups, so finding ways to manage stress, such as exercise or meditation, can be helpful.
Eczema is a common skin condition that can be frustrating and uncomfortable. While there is no cure, there are many treatment options available to manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups. By working with a healthcare provider and practicing self-care measures, people with eczema can lead a comfortable and fulfilling life.
It pays to be informed
Struggling with itchy, red, and inflamed skin? You might be one of the millions of people living with eczema. Don’t suffer in silence – consult with Medgate and ask our specialist doctors on how to manage eczema symptoms and improve your quality of life!
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