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Controlling Eczema

Posted on: March 30th, 2016 by csiaccess

Here at California Skin Institute we’ve helped many patients treat eczema and get their symptoms under control. This frustrating skin condition is characterized by dry, itchy skin. Eczema (also called ‘dermatitis’) is very common, with some estimates suggesting that as many as 30 million Americans exhibit symptoms at some point in their lives. Although the causes are not completely understood, the condition is quite manageable when one chooses the right eczema treatments.

Unfortunately, many patients wait too long and suffer needlessly before seeking professional eczema treatments. With a regular treatment routine, eczema symptoms can be significantly reduced, which brings with it comfort and improved confidence about your appearance.

If you’re suffering from eczema symptoms, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to determine the best course of action.

What is Eczema?

Your skin is an incredibly important part of your body. People sometimes like to say that beauty is only skin deep, but don’t realize that to a large degree, their health is only skin deep, too. This is because the skin’s primary purpose is to act as a barrier that keeps out bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.

Various factors have an impact on the skin barrier and thus influence how effective the skin is at doing its job. For example, dryness is an issue that can cause the natural barrier to become less effective. With less moisture in the skin, the barrier is weakened, causing an inflammatory response that manifests itself in dry red itchy skin patches.

Genetic factors may also play a role, causing the body’s immune system to become over-stimulated and react to things that are not actually a threat.

Further, environmental factors may partially cause this issue. For example, consistent exposure to known allergens can cause the skin to become red and inflamed.

Though there are many factors that may initiate eczema symptoms, it’s important to keep in mind that this condition is not contagious. At the very basic level, eczema is simply the result of the skin being unable to function optimally.

Types of Eczema

In order to understand how eczema may affect your daily routine, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many types of this condition. Further, it can be exacerbated by lifestyle and work-related factors. Here are just some of the types of eczema that California Skin Institute providers treat on a regular basis:

  • Atopic Eczema:  This type of eczema often runs in families. With atopic eczema, the skin barrier is impaired and immune system tends to overreact to things that don’t actually pose a threat to the body. For example, the patient may experience high sensitivity to certain soaps, detergents, and even dust. Atopic eczema is often accompanied by extreme itching of the affected area.
  • Seborrheic Eczema:  This variation of eczema tends to appear on parts of the body that have higher concentrations of oil producing glands: scalp, corners of the nose, and eyebrows. Seborrheic eczema is characterized by red patches that have white or yellow skin flakes. This condition often requires continuous treatment to prevent recurrent outbreaks.
  • Discoid (or Nummular) Eczema:  What makes this condition very distinct is the shape of the red patches on the skin. These are often somewhat circular and resemble the shape of a disc or a coin. These patches may also be accompanied by dry skin flakes.
  • Contact Eczema:  This condition develops as a response to regular contact with allergens encountered at work or at home. Certain soaps, hair care items, and environmental factors (including allergies to certain plants) are just some of the potential causes of contact eczema.

Eczema Treatments

It’s important to keep in mind that eczema is a very individual condition that can vary greatly, depending on the patient’s unique set of circumstances. Therefore, it’s vital to work with a dermatologist who will develop a customized treatment plan, based on your specific symptoms and lifestyle factors. However, some of the more general eczema treatments include:

  • Moisturizing:  One aspect of treating eczema may involve strengthening the skin barrier through moisture. By boosting moisture levels, the network of skin cells and fats is strengthened, thereby making it more effective at keeping in water, and keeping out bacteria and other irritants.
  • Prescription Corticosteroid Creams:  These creams can be used to reduce the redness and inflammation associated with eczema. However, as long term use can cause the skin to become thinner and lead to other problems, it’s important to use steroid creams only under the care of a dermatologist who can help you develop the best routine for managing symptoms.
  • Lifestyle Changes:  Since eczema symptoms can manifest in response to allergens, it’s vital to consider whether certain lifestyle choices are playing a part in flare ups. It could be a soap that you are using, other skin care products, allergens, or exposure to certain chemicals at work. Simple lifestyle changes may be able to significantly reduce symptoms in such cases.

Taking the First Step

If you are struggling with eczema-like symptoms, one of the expert dermatologists at California Skin Institute can help you accurately diagnose the problem and develop the most effective course of eczema treatments for your situation. This will help reduce further skin damage associated with ongoing inflammation and can significantly improve your quality of life.


Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.

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