October is National Eczema Awareness Month. Eczema affects a whopping 30 percent of children and 15 percent of adults.
So, it’s likely that eczema will affect you or someone you know at some point. But you and your loved ones don’t have to suffer from eczema because it’s treatable. Read on to learn how you can escape from eczema.
What is Eczema
Eczema is a red, itchy rash. It can range from mild to severe. It is not contagious, and you can’t get it from somebody.
Researchers Don’t Know What Causes Eczema
Eczema could be the result of an overactive immune system. Researchers think a combination of genetics and environmental factors triggers inflammation. People with eczema might have a gene variation that makes their skin more susceptible to allergens and irritants in the environment.
The Different Types of Eczema
Not all eczema is alike—there are seven different types. They affect different parts of the body and can look different from each other. What they all have in common is that they tend to be inflamed, red, and itchy. The seven different types of eczema include:
- Contact dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis
The Most Common Form of Eczema
Contact dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. It’s a delayed allergic reaction that appears a day or two after the skin is exposed to an irritant. People with sensitive skin do best with scent-free products like soaps and laundry detergents that help them avoid irritation.
How To Treat Eczema Topically
You can treat eczema topically with triamcinolone and hydrocortisone. These medications reduce inflammation and strengthen the skin barrier. They can be used alone or with other treatments and come in spray and lotion forms.
Eczema Can Be Treated Internally
You can treat eczema internally with oral or injected medications like cyclosporine and methotrexate. They encourage the immune system to reduce inflammation but are only recommended for short periods.
Treat Eczema with Biologics
Biologics target the overactive immune system and decrease inflammation. One example is Interleukin inhibitors, which are injectable.
The “Itch, Scratch, Repeat” Cycle
Eczema can keep you awake at night in a cycle of itching and scratching. People of all ages, including children, can get caught in the “itch, scratch, repeat” cycle that can make for poor sleep.
When It’s Time to See A Dermatologist
It’s time to see a dermatologist if eczema is affecting your quality of life. This means that you aren’t able to sleep because it’s itchy. It can also mean that you are bothered by the way the rash looks. You must see a doctor if you see red streaks in your skin. The same is true if your eczema scabs or becomes filled with pus.
National Eczema Awareness Month reminds us that eczema is a common skin condition that will likely affect you or someone you know. But you and your loved ones can “escape from eczema” because it's treatable. If you think you have eczema, contact one of our board-certified dermatologists today to schedule an assessment.