Eczema and dermatitis are terms used interchangeably to describe specific kinds of inflamed skin conditions. Signs and symptoms of eczema include red, blistering, oozing, scaly, brownish, or thickened skin accompanied by itching. Eczema is a chronic skin condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment from an experienced dermatology specialist.
Early eczema treatment is recommended to help prevent the disease from becoming worse. As the more severe eczema becomes, the more difficult it is to control. If you are suffering from eczema, the dedicated skin care specialists at SkinSpeaks will tailor your treatment plan to suit your skin’s needs. Medicine and other therapies may also be prescribed to:
Many effective therapies are available for eczema treatment. And with proper treatment in place, most cases can be controlled. Types of eczema/dermatitis conditions include:
The most common type of eczema, atopic dermatitis, is frequently described as “the itch that rashes” and is often associated with asthma or seasonal allergies. Itching can become so intense that patients often have trouble sleeping through the night and suffer from a severe skin rash. Atopic dermatitis is most common in children and many outgrow it by early adulthood.
Contact with everyday objects—from shampoo and jewelry to food—causes this very common type of eczema. When the contact leads to a skin rash, the eczema is called irritant contact dermatitis. However, if an allergic reaction develops on the skin after exposure, the eczema is called allergic contact dermatitis.
Usually beginning on the scalp as oily, waxy patches, this common type of eczema (also known as dandruff) sometimes spreads to the face and beyond. A severe case, while rare, produces widespread lesions. Like most types of eczema, seborrheic dermatitis tends to flare in cold, dry weather.
Developing on the lower legs, this common eczema occurs when circulation becomes sluggish. Poor blood flow causes fluids to build up, and the legs swell. Over time, this buildup of fluids affects the surface, causing an itchy skin rash and painful sores, as well as thinning and discolored skin. Effective eczema treatment involves treating not only the dermatitis but also the circulatory problem as well.
If you imagine an itch so intense that no amount of scratching brings relief then you have some idea of what neurodermatitis feels like. This form of eczema develops when nerve endings in the skin become irritated, triggering a severe itch-scratch-itch cycle. Common causes of nerve irritation include an insect bite or emotional stress.
Some low-potency corticosteroid creams are available without a prescription, but you should always talk to your SkinSpeaks’ dermatology specialist before using any topical corticosteroid. Side effects of long-term or repeated use can include skin irritation or discoloration, thinning of the skin, infections, and stretch marks on the skin.
If you have a bacterial skin infection or an open sore or fissure caused by scratching, you may need antibiotics. A SkinSpeaks’ dermatology specialist may recommend taking antibiotics for a short time to treat an infection or for longer periods of time to reduce bacteria on your skin and to prevent recurrent infections.
Oral antihistamines may reduce severe itching. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), for example, can make you sleepy.
For more severe cases, your skin care provider may prescribe oral corticosteroids, such as prednisone or an intramuscular injection of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and to control symptoms. These medications are effective but cannot be used long term due to their potentially serious side effects. Contact the dermatology experts at SkinSpeaks to learn more.
A class of medications called immunomodulators, such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel), affect the immune system and may help maintain normal skin texture and reduce flares of atopic dermatitis.
The simplest and easiest form of phototherapy involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. Other forms of light therapy include the use of artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) light, including the more recently available narrow band ultraviolet B (NBUVB) either alone or with medications. However, long-term light therapy has many harmful side effects, including premature skin aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.