Eczema is a common often hereditary sensitive skin condition that results in dry, easily irritated, itchy skin. There is no cure for eczema but it can be controlled by utilizing a good daily skin care regime.
Facts and information about eczema:
- Most eczema starts before age two and resolves by puberty but some cases extend into adulthood.
- The specific cause of eczema is unknown. Eczema may flare up in children as a result of allergies (food, grasses, pollen) or irritants such as soaps, chlorine, chemicals or certain fabrics.
- Common sites on the body of children are red inflamed cheeks, irritated skin in the flexural crease of elbows, knees, and wrist.
- The rash of eczema is extremely itchy.
- The skin seems to be dry constantly.
- On some occasions the red, irritated skin can become infected. Please consult with your doctor for skin that does not seem to be healing with daily moisturizing.
Treatment and daily skin care for eczema.
- Bathe daily with a mild, non-soap, fragrance free cleansing product. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the skin with a wash cloth or towel. Pat dry.
- Application of a daily skin moisturizer is crucial. Moisturizers are most effective when applied within 3 minutes after bathing. Moisturizers come in many forms. Creams and ointments are better than lotions. The thicker the better. Avoid moisturizers with fragrances or color which may cause irritation.
- For extra dry skin, apply moisturizer several times per day.
- Itching is a key symptom of eczema and stopping the itch-rash cycle is important. Moisturizer, oral anti-histamines and anti-inflammatory creams are used to stop the itch. Keep your child’s finger nails clipped short.
- Avoid wool fabrics, bubble baths, and temperature extremes.
Prescription Medication for eczema
The type and strength of medication used for eczema will be determined by your health care provider based several factors such as severity of the disease, location on the body and patient compliance.
- Topical steroids in creams or ointments are the most commonly used medications. They are anti-inflammatory and will relieve the itching and redness that come with eczema. It is important to use the right strength creams and for the appropriate amount of time. Your doctor can discuss with you an appropriate plan of care.
- Long term use of steroids creams/ointment can be damaging to the skin, never use steroid creams longer than 2 weeks without discussing it with your doctor.
What moisturizer should I use?
The importance of moisturizing the skin cannot be emphasized enough. There are numerous products on the market for this.
This page was authored by Dr. Grant Newman