Eczema affects around 16.5 million adults in the U.S, with a little less than half reporting moderate to severe symptoms. In addition to the obvious outward appearance and discomfort of the condition, eczema also creates unexpected social, emotional, and financial challenges.
What is Eczema?
Eczema. By definition, “a chronic, inflammatory skin disease, which results in widespread rashes and patches of itchy skin”. Also referred to as “atopic dermatitis”, this skin condition often goes untreated for years.
Usually mistaken as just “really dry skin”, it commonly presents in childhood and is sometimes written-off until adulthood, or until it becomes severe.
In children and adolescents, it is strongly linked to a family history of asthma, hay fever, food allergies, and other allergic conditions.
What Causes Eczema?
Although the exact cause is unknown, eczema is not contagious and cannot be spread to others. Common triggers can include a variety of environmental and food allergens, that activate the immune system and cause an abnormal histamine response. This presents as dry, highly sensitive, itchy, inflamed skin.
How is Eczema Treated?
Although eczema cannot be cured, it can be effectively and comfortably managed by your dermatologist. Treatment options can include, one, many, or a combination of the following:
- Over the Counter (OTC) topicals- Almost every brand of moisturizer has a specific formulation for eczema-prone skin. These can help manage the redness and itching.
- Prescription Topicals- Only available through your doctor, skin barrier creams and steroid creams are commonly given to alleviate the rash and severe dryness.
- UVB Therapy- Also referred to as “phototherapy”, this involves the patient exposing the affected areas of the body to specific narrowband ultraviolet light. The desired outcome is an increase in the production of vitamin D and a reduction in skin inflammation.
- Biologics- This class of medications target the specific triggers of eczema symptoms from the inside out, and are given as a subcutaneous injection in a medical office setting.
How Is Eczema Diagnosed?
Your dermatologist will evaluate your condition and take into account your personal and family health history. He or she will then make an official diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan specifically for you.
Schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable providers at Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater today by calling the office at (757) 461-1033!