Eczema can be so frustrating! What can you do to help?
Eczema, also called dermatitis, is a common condition characterized by skin irritation and inflammation. It can affect anyone, at any age, though it is most prevalent in infants and younger kids. Families turn to Jack & Jill Aesthetics for counseling and eczema treatment in Nashville. We can help restore smooth, clear, attractive skin that improves your self-esteem and quality of life.
What exactly is eczema?
In medical language, eczema is an umbrella term that includes several subtypes, including:
- Contact dermatitis – a skin reaction to an allergen or irritant
- Dyshidrotic eczema – an itchy, blistered rash affecting the hands and feet, which is also called hand-and-foot eczema
- Nummular eczema – characterized by oval-shaped lesions, this condition is normally triggered by skin irritation or trauma, such as a serious burn
- Stasis dermatitis – a common symptom of venous insufficiency (vascular disease), this condition can cause skin discoloration, texture changes, and visible veins
- Seborrheic dermatitis – this well-known form of eczema, characterized by irritation and flaking of the scalp, is usually called dandruff
- Atopic dermatitis – this condition, associated with dry, itchy skin, is common in childhood, and may persist through life
Although any of the above condition are technically forms of eczema, all have their own common names. The last one on the list, atopic dermatitis, is the only subtype that is commonly referred to simply as “eczema.” When people, including medical professionals, talk about eczema without specifying what type, you can be almost certain they are referring to atopic dermatitis.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
Because eczema is quite common, chances are you have seen it before. If it runs in your family, you may be very familiar with it. You might think that you already know what affected skin looks like, and what symptoms to watch for. However, eczema can manifest in many different ways, and vary greatly from one person to the next.
Even for one person, the symptoms may change over time. In fact, if you have eczema, you may be affected by different subtypes of the condition at different times. Therefore, it is always best to see a medical professional for accurate diagnosis as well as management of eczema. Signs you may have eczema include:
- Itching, often quite severe
- Dry, flaky skin
- Redness and inflammation
- Dark or otherwise discolored areas of skin
- Leathery, rough skin texture
- Crusting or oozing
- Blisters are common with certain subtypes, such as contact dermatan or dyshidrotic eczema
What are my treatment options for eczema?
The symptoms of eczema can be frustratingly persistent. For affected children, there is a good chance of the condition resolving, though it will likely take a few years. Those who still have eczema as adults will likely continue to experience symptoms, at least occasionally. At this time there is no known “cure.” However, it can be effectively controlled with a combination of daily self-care, medical treatment, and trigger avoidance.
Because every patient is different, our Nashville eczema treatment is highly individualized. After an examination and consultation, we may recommend one or more of the following:
Prescription creams with healing ingredients such as corticosteroid or calcineurin inhibitors can soothe the itching and help skin repair itself. However, over-use can have negative effects, so it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely.
Eczema patients may be susceptible to infection due to dry, cracked skin or damage caused by scratching. Topical antibiotic creams, oral antibiotics, or a combination may be needed to clear up active infections.
This new class of injectable eczema medication was recently approved by the FDA. Although early clinical trials are promising, it has not been on the market long enough to establish a long-term record of effectiveness.
One of the safest and most effective eczema treatments does not use drugs, but rather the power of light. Also known as phototherapy, this procedure uses carefully targeted narrowband UV light to help heal skin and reduce future flares. Although unprotected sun exposure is sometimes promoted as a natural eczema treatment, it can increase skin cancer risk with minimal benefit. For optimal safety and effectiveness, it is important that UV treatment be provided by a qualified medical professional.
Jack & Jill Aesthetics is the BEST place to go for skin and laser treatments in Nashville, TN! The knowledge and professionalism of everyone affiliated with this clinic is unsurpassed. I highly recommend them!
What is trigger management?
It might seem as if your skin nearly heals, then symptoms suddenly and randomly return. However, it usually isn’t random. The skin is our barrier against the outside world; it is also one of the ways our bodies excrete toxins. That means it is exposed to, and sensitive to, internal and external conditions. Eczema flares usually have a cause, which can be anything from the weather to what you ate for dinner.
An important part of our eczema treatment plan is personalized guidance, beginning with helping you identify triggers. After a discussion about your symptoms and lifestyle, we will advise you about likely triggers. We’ll also teach you how to keep a skincare diary, noting when potential triggers occur, and when skin symptoms appear or fade. Over time, patterns emerge.
Some triggers can be avoided, such as certain foods or specific brands of cleaners. Others are unavoidable, but you can prepare and protect skin accordingly. For example, one of the most common problems is winter weather, which, of course, cannot be avoided. However, you can minimize its effects by wearing protective clothing, avoiding too-hot baths, using appropriate moisturizer, and regulating indoor humidity.