What is Eczema?

압구정피부과 People with eczema are at risk for developing other health problems like asthma, hay fever and allergies. They also have a tendency to develop infections caused by bacteria.

압구정피부과

To diagnose atopic dermatitis (eczema), your doctor takes a close look at your skin and asks questions about where the rash occurs, how it started and what triggers it. They may also do blood tests or a skin biopsy.

What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes itchy, dry and scaly skin. It can be painful, embarrassing and can cause sleep disturbances. It is more common in infants, but many outgrow it or improve as they get older. It can affect people of all races and ethnicities. It is a type of dermatitis, which is a family of conditions that include inflammation of the skin.

It is not contagious and there are no known causes. It is thought that the problem stems from a defective skin barrier, and that the lack of moisture leads to inflammation of the epidermis. Eczema can be triggered by allergies to certain foods, soaps, detergents, dust mites, pollen and fragrances. Stress can also trigger or worsen eczema.

Symptoms can appear on any part of the body, although they tend to be more noticeable on the hands, feet, elbows and knees. Rashes, scaly bumps, redness, thickened skin and flaking can all occur. The itchiness can lead to scratching and rubbing, which then irritates the skin further. This is called the itch-scratch cycle.

People with dark complexions can have a harder time getting diagnosed, as eczema on Black and Brown skin can look more like hyperpigmentation than a rash. Having good 압구정피부과 skin care and using treatments can help to control symptoms. Knowing what triggers your eczema is the key to managing it.

Symptoms

The red, bumpy skin we call a rash is actually an indication of several different diseases, the most common of which are eczema and ringworm. Ringworm is actually a fungal infection that causes a circular-shaped rash on the skin, while eczema is an inflammation of the skin caused by a variety of factors including food allergies, stress and irritants.

Eczema is a chronic condition, and it can flare up at any time. It can be triggered by many things, including hot weather, frequent showering and soap use, frequent scratching, cold weather and overheating (especially in bed at night). Certain allergens such as pet dander, pollen, foods and some antibiotics may trigger symptoms. Some people with a particular deficiency of the protein filaggrin are at greater risk for developing eczema, as well.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to manage your eczema and reduce the frequency of flare-ups. Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan, which will include symptom management strategies and medications. Antihistamines help reduce itching, but do not control inflammation; steroid creams and oral medications are often used. If you have food allergies, your doctor can test you for them and may recommend a diet that avoids the offending foods. In some cases, allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots or tablets) can help.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of eczema is based on the symptoms and history. Your doctor will ask you about your family history of eczema or other skin conditions, and how often you have flare-ups and where the rash occurs. You should keep a journal of your symptoms so that you can begin to notice patterns and triggers (like certain soaps, detergents or cold weather), and bring it to your doctor’s appointment.

If your eczema is mild, your doctor may recommend ointments or medications like corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and itching. If you are struggling with moderate or severe eczema, your doctor will most likely refer you to an allergist, a specialist in skin conditions, to discuss prescription medications like steroid pills or injections.

An allergist will also likely take a blood sample, which will be tested for elevated white blood cells that are associated with inflammation and allergic reactions. They may also perform a skin allergy test called a prick or prick-prick test, where a diluted allergen is applied to the skin and you’re monitored for signs of an allergic reaction, such as redness and swelling (wheals). They may also want to do a buccal swab, which can detect mutations in the gene that produces filaggrin, a protein that helps form the skin barrier. If your eczema is thought to be caused by food allergies, they may want to do an oral food challenge where you’re asked to eat increasing amounts of a suspected allergen to see if it causes a reaction.

Treatment

The most effective treatments are topical creams and ointments that control inflammation and itchiness. They may include a steroid or other medicines. People can also try over-the-counter antihistamines to reduce itching. Over time, aggressive treatment of eczema may help prevent future flare-ups.

Your doctor can recommend a diet that’s low in fat and avoids dairy, nuts and eggs (which are common allergens). They might also suggest changing the way you wash your skin to mild soaps and shampoos. You might use a moisturizing bath oil or lotion to keep your skin soft and supple.

Sometimes doctors prescribe pills that stop your immune system from overreacting, such as cyclosporine, methotrexate or mycophenolate mofetil. They might be taken as pills or liquids, but are only used for a short period because they can have serious side effects.

Some eczema patients have food allergies that contribute to symptoms – especially among infants and young children. Your doctor may recommend allergy testing to find the foods that trigger your eczema. They might also give you a dose of allergen immunotherapy, where you get gradually increasing doses of the allergen in the hope that you’ll build up tolerance.

People who have eczema can feel embarrassed or self-conscious about the appearance of their skin. It can even interfere with their relationships. They can also have problems at work, school or social activities because others might tease them about their appearance. Stress can also cause a flare-up or worsen a rash. Practicing coping strategies and getting support from family and friends can make a difference.