The word eczema describes a group of skin conditions in which the skin becomes inflamed, red, and itchy. Eczema is very common; over 30 million people in the United States have some form of eczema. Thankfully, eczema treatment exists.
What is Eczema?
Eczema can affect anybody of any age, and the patches of inflamed skin can develop anywhere on the body. Infants and small children, however, are most likely to develop eczema on their chin and/or cheeks. In many cases, the eczema fades as the child grows up, but some children continue to have eczema flare-ups into adulthood. Some patients don’t develop eczema until they reach adulthood.
Eczema is not contagious. While researchers are not yet sure of its exact cause, they believe that a combination of environmental and genetic factors trigger eczema outbreaks. They also know that eczema patients have a hypersensitive immune system.
How is Eczema Treated?
So far, there is no cure for eczema. The various treatments are designed to relieve the inflammation and itching and to keep the eczema from getting worse. The eczema treatment will be prescribed based on the type of eczema and its severity.
In mild cases, the patient may need nothing more than over-the-counter emollients or moisturizers. They work by reducing water loss and, thus, preventing the dryness that increases the risk of an eczema flare-up. Creams and lotions are recommended for mild to moderate cases of eczema, while ointments are recommended for more severe cases with bleeding and cracked skin.
We may advise the patient to make certain lifestyle changes to ease their discomfort. For example, the patient should avoid wearing wool or synthetic fabrics, for they can irritate the skin. By contrast, bedding and clothes made of cotton let the skin breathe and keep it cool. The patient should avoid scented detergents and soaps, for the chemicals used to produce the fragrance can irritate the skin.
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