Eczema plagues a significant amount of Americans each year. Also known as dermatitis, eczema is a red, itchy rash that brings about blotches, which can form in just small parts or could be all over the body. While itching and redness eventually subside with treatment, many are left with remaining brown or white discoloration or even scars from irritation. Whatever the cause of your eczema may be, it’s important to remember that prevention is the best way to keep on top of this issue.
It may be hard to resist that nagging urge, but continuously scratching eczema lesions can cause damage to the skin’s protective barrier in the process. Although not as common, prolonged itching can cause scars. In addition, itching and rubbing skin chronically can cause infection. To avoid a situation like this, it’s best to develop a sound regimen as recommended by your dermatologist to keep itchy and irritable skin under control. Keeping your skin clean, moisturizing often and seeking the help of a dermatologist is always a good place to start.
Keep the Skin Clean
When it comes to eczema, prevention can be your best weapon in managing any outbreaks. With dry skin being the primary symptom, it’s important to cleanse your skin with care. When washing your hands or showering, avoid skin irritants and use mild soaps. Water temperature also makes a noticeable difference, so be sure to shower with lukewarm water.
Moisturize Your Skin
The dryness associated with eczema is more than what your typical body lotion can handle. Emollients are designed to keep the skin moist and supple by reducing water loss from the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) and are essential to keeping rough patches at bay. Emulsifying ointments are good alternatives for hand and bath soaps, because they don’t strip the skin of its surface layer and leave it itchy and dry. As a general rule of thumb, the thicker the moisturizer, the better it will be for your eczema.
Seek a Dermatologist
It’s important to remember that while eczema is incurable, it can be managed effectively. It’s always wise to seek a dermatologist’s advice before trying any new eczema-related treatments. While it may be tempting to manage your own symptoms, dermatologists can help patients develop a sound treatment plan to help combat this issue.
This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.