July 1, 2023
Eczema 101: Everything You Need to Know
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Itchy, red, irritated skin is often a sign of eczema, a noncontagious inflammation of the skin. Eczema has no cure, but you can manage it with the help of a medical professional. Here’s what you should know if you or your child struggles with eczema.

Eczema describes a group of skin conditions, and it can show up in several forms, but most often results in itchy, irritated skin with red, inflamed patches that crack and ooze. The inflammatory condition affects at least 31 million Americans, including children, teens, and adults.

Eczema is not contagious, but it has no known cure. At Twin Falls Dermatology and Aesthetics, LLC, Laurel Krupski, PA-C, MSW, sees many patients with rashes that turn out to be eczema. Here’s what she wants you to know about the condition.

Identifying eczema

Eczema isn’t just dry skin; it is a serious rash. Unlike some rashes, however, it can’t spread from one area of your body to another or to other people.

While eczema can show up in different ways, the most common symptoms include:

  • Intense itching that’s made worse by scratching
  • Red or brown patches of skin
  • Dry, thickened, leathery skin
  • Swollen areas of skin
  • Small raised bumps that may ooze fluid
  • Patches of crusty, yellowish skin

In infants, eczema may appear on the scalp, face, and forehead. In school age children, adolescents, and adults, eczema more often shows up in the creases of the elbows and knees, on the neck, and on the wrists or ankles.

Eczema causes

Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes some people to develop eczema. Usually, however, eczema flares up in response to certain triggers, including:

  • Synthetic fabrics
  • Animal dander
  • Metals, especially nickel, in utensils and jewelry
  • Stress
  • Food allergies
  • Surface cleaners
  • Some types of soap, lotions, and bubble baths
  • Dry or cold air or weather
  • Certain detergents
  • Fragrances in candles
  • Heat, humidity, and sweat

Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It’s a type of allergic reaction. Eczema commonly has a genetic link. If a parent had or has eczema, it’s likely their children will too.

Self-care for eczema

Keeping a sensory diary to identify your personal triggers helps you manage your eczema. Avoid triggers as much as possible to prevent flare-ups.

Daily moisturizing and bathing help you manage eczema. Stick to lukewarm (not hot) water and gently sponge off your skin. Scrubbing aggravates the condition. We can help you choose an appropriate cleanser that’s gentle on the skin and free of chemicals and dyes.

As soon as you get out of the bath or shower, moisturize with a hypoallergenic product.

Dress in loose clothing and choose natural fabrics.

Treatment for eczema

We work with you to find the underlying triggers for your eczema and customize your treatment plan to help you minimize flare-ups. If Laurel suspects allergies are to blame, she may recommend allergy testing.

Other treatments that can help when eczema flares up include:

  • Light therapy
  • Oral, topical, and injectable anti-itch and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Topical or oral antibiotics when eczema becomes infected
  • Immunosuppressant medications
  • Gentle sunscreens to prevent irritation from sun burns

Most children with eczema gradually outgrow it.

If you or someone in your family is struggling with eczema, make an appointment at Twin Falls Dermatology and Aesthetics. Laurel can offer an accurate diagnosis and help you manage the condition so you can find relief.

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