What is Atopic Eczema?
Atopic eczema is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. This condition commonly affects children but can affect people of all ages. Atopic eczema is long lasting (chronic) and tends to recur periodically. Symptoms may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
Until now, no cure has been found to treat eczema. However, medications and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, avoiding soaps that contain harsh ingredients, moisturizing your skin regularly, and applying medicated creams or ointments can help reduce symptoms.
Make an appointment with a dermatologist through Smarter Health to find the right treatment for your atopic eczema condition.
Causes of Atopic Eczema
Healthy skin helps retain moisture and protects you from bacteria, irritants, and allergens. That is why it is vital to maintain your skin health and moisture. There are several causes of eczema, including gene-related factors or other factors.
Atopic eczema may be related to a gene variation that affects the skin’s ability to provide protection. This condition allows your skin to be affected by environmental factors, irritants, and allergens.
In some children, food allergies may play a role in what causes atopic eczema. The main risk factor for atopic eczema is having a personal or family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever, or asthma.
When to See a Doctor for Atopic Eczema
Laboratory testing may not be required to identify atopic eczema. A dermatologist may establish a diagnosis by examining your skin and reviewing your medical history.
Your doctor may also perform patch tests or other tests to rule out other skin conditions or identify any underlying conditions.
If you suspect a certain food allergy causes a rash on your child’s skin, be sure to inform the doctor so that your child can get the right treatment.
Symptoms of Atopic Eczema
Signs and symptoms of atopic eczema may vary greatly from person to person, such as:
- Dry skin symptoms
- Itchy, scaly skin
- Sensitive and swollen skin after scratching
- Severely itchy skin, especially at night
- Small, raised bumps–may leak fluid or bleed when scratched
- Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees
- In infants, the symptoms may appear on the face and scalp
Atopic eczema most commonly occurs in children and may recur into adolescence and adulthood. For some people, the symptoms of atopic eczema appear periodically and then go away temporarily, even over several years.
Treatment for Atopic Eczema
You may need to try numerous treatments over the months or years to control the symptoms of atopic eczema. Even if the treatment is successful, signs and symptoms may possibly recur.
Recognize the symptoms early to help identify which treatment works best for you. If applying moisturizers regularly and performing other self-care measures do not work, your doctor may suggest one or more treatments.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help control symptoms of atopic eczema, including:
- Cream to control itching and help improve skin
- Types of medicines to fight infection
- Oral medication to control inflammation
- Other medications for severe eczema
In addition to medication, your doctor may also recommend therapy, such as:
- Wet dressing
- Light therapy
- Relaxation, behavior modification
Eczema in Infants
Treatments for infantile eczema include:
- Identify and avoid skin irritants
- Avoid extreme temperatures
- Apply bath oil, cream, or ointment to the baby’s skin
Treatment Cost for Atopic Eczema
Treatment cost for atopic eczema varies greatly – depending on the treatment method recommended by your doctor, such as the use of ointments, creams, or medications.
For more details regarding the estimated treatment cost for atopic eczema at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Atopic Eczema
Follow the following tips to help prevent dermatitis flares and minimize the effects of dry skin, including:
- Moisturize your skin at least twice a day. Apply creams, ointments, and lotions to maintain moisture. Choose the product that works well on your skin. Using petroleum jelly on the baby’s skin can help prevent the development of atopic eczema.
- Identify and avoid triggers that worsen conditions, such as sweating, stress, obesity, soap, detergent, dust, and pollen.
- Infants and children may experience dermatitis flares due to certain foods, including eggs, milk, soy, and wheat. Talk to your pediatrician about identifying any potential food allergies.
- Take a quick shower or bath. Limit your shower time to 10-15 minutes using warm water instead of hot water.
- Use a small amount of bleach when you take a bath. This can help prevent flares and reduce bacteria and related infections. Pour 1/2 cup (118 ml) of household bleach, not concentrated bleach, into (151 l) of warm water. Bleach baths should not be more than twice a week.
- Use mild soaps. Deodorant soaps and antibacterial soaps can remove more natural oils and dry out your skin.
- Dry your body thoroughly. After bathing, gently pat dry your skin with a towel and use a moisturizer while your skin is still damp.
Home Remedies for Atopic Eczema
Relieve skin inflammation with home remedies with the following skin care measures:
- Moisturize your skin at least twice a day with a product that suits your skin type. You can try bath oils, creams, ointments or sprays. For children, apply anti-itch ointment twice a day–before bedtime and before going to school.
- Apply anti-itch cream to the affected area. Non-prescription hydrocortisone creams containing at least 1% hydrocortisone can temporarily relieve itching. Apply no more than twice a day to the affected area, after moisturizing.
- Take oral or anti-itch allergy medications. Options may include non-prescription allergy drugs (antihistamines), such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) or fexofenadine (Allegra). In addition, diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others) may also help if you experience severe itching.
- Take a warm shower. Sprinkle bath water with baking soda or colloidal oatmeal. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then dry. Apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp
- Choose a mild soap without dyes or fragrances. Use a non-alkaline, fatty soap. Be sure to rinse off the soap completely.
Other Treatments for Patients Diagnosed with Atopic Eczema
- Use a humidifier. Hot, dry indoor air can make your skin sensitive and worsen itching and flaking.
- Do not scratch the affected area. Instead of scratching when it itches, try pressing it against your skin. Cover the itchy area if you can’t bear to scratch it. For children, you can trim their nails and have them wear gloves at night.
- Apply bandages. Covering the affected area with a bandage will help protect the skin and prevent scratching.
- Wear smooth-textured clothing. Reduce irritation by avoiding clothing that is rough, tight, or scratchy. Wear suitable clothes under hot weather or during exercise to prevent excessive sweating.
- Treat stress and anxiety, as both can worsen the eczema.
Smarter Health‘s teleconsultation services allow you to get medical treatment whenever you need it without leaving the house – thus minimizing the spread of COVID-19.