October is Eczema Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Get Eczema Wise.” There’s no better time than right now to learn more about this condition, why it occurs, and how to treat it. So, what is eczema, and why is it happening to you?
Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It is a skin condition that creates inflammation and irritation, often causing red and itchy skin. It’s quite common in children but can occur to anyone at any age. Some forms can become long-lasting or chronic, creating uncomfortable and even painful skin from time to time. There is no cure for this condition, but eczema treatments and self-care may help to provide some relief to many people.
Eczema affects as many as 15 million Americans. It’s found in about 10 to 20 percent of infants, though at least half outgrow the condition over time.
Types of Eczema
There are 7 types of eczema that may impact some. Those include:
- Atopic dermatitis, the most common form, typically improves as a person ages. It typically impacts elbows or knees specifically, but the coloring may change from lighter to darker and even get thicker.
- Contact dermatitis typically creates red and irritated skin caused by contact with substances touched. There are two forms: an immune system reaction to an irritant or those related to a chemical. Red, burning, and stinging skins are common.
- Dyshidrotic eczema is a form that causes small blisters to build on the skin, generally on the hands and feet. It’s more common in women than in men and often causes painful, itching areas of skin that may also scale, crack, and flake.
- Hand eczema is a form that only impacts the hands themselves and typically occurs with those who use their hands with substances often, such as hairdressers or cleaning professionals. The skin gets red, dry, and itchy, with cracks and blisters forming.
- Neurodermatitis is a condition that’s much like atopic dermatitis in that it causes scaly and thick patches that typically pop on the skin. Scratching can lead to bleeding and infections.
- Nummular eczema creates round, almost coin-shaped spots to occur on the skin. It looks significantly different from other forms and typically creates a lot of itching, though scaling may also occur.
- Stasis dermatitis occurs when fluids leak from weakened veins located under the skin. This typically creates redness, itching, swelling in the area, and pain. This typically occurs in the lower part of the legs, creating a heavy, painful feeling.
How Do You Treat Eczema?
Eczema treatment cannot cure the condition, but it can significantly improve outcomes and provide symptom relief. Various treatments are available to help minimize the effects of eczema:
- Medications such as creams that control and minimize itching are often used as a first step. It may also be necessary to use medications to fight infection. In more severe cases, oral medications may be used to help minimize inflammation. Injectable biologics may also provide some support for those with severe conditions.
- Therapies such as the use of wet dressings may be helpful in some forms of this condition. Light therapy may also ease pain and improve inflammation of the skin.
- One of the tools available to help many deal with eczema is an app called Eczema Wise. It enables individuals to track and manage their condition with ease, especially over time.
- Behavior modifications and biofeedback may also help by working to reduce the impact stress can have on this condition.
Ready to Get Help?
If you suffer from eczema, it may be time to get help. Our team can offer a wide range of therapies to support your long-term recovery.
Call today to schedule an appointment or to speak to one of our providers about the available eczema treatment options that may help you.