Eczema is not a single condition, rather it is a collection of various skin diseases that cause patches of skin to become rough, inflamed, itchy and sometimes results in bleeding. With over 30 million Americans demonstrating symptoms, eczema is an issue that dermatologists treat often . While it’s prevalent in babies, adults can develop eczema as well.
How Dermatologists Diagnose Eczema
Since there are 11 different types of eczema, a dermatologist will try to pinpoint exactly what is causing symptoms in order to provide the best treatment. In order to do this, a thorough examination of the skin will be performed, medical history will be reviewed and in some cases, a biopsy of a skin sample will be sent for examination.
Eczema Treatment Options
Eczema can be persistent and it may require several treatments over the course of months or even years to control. In most cases, a dermatologist will recommend home care in addition to any treatments they provide.
Eczema Treatment at Home
Preventing itchiness or discomfort could be as simple as eliminating possible allergic triggers such as certain laundry detergents or avoiding wearing certain fabrics such as wool. The most important step to treating this issue is to keep the skin well moisturized:
- Take a lukewarm shower for no more than 10 minutes.
- Use a mild soap with little fragrance.
- Dry your skin very carefully with the towel. Do not aggressively dry.
- Use a mild, fragrance-free lotion.
The final piece of advice is to stop scratching. Scratching itchy skin may make symptoms more pronounced and could irritate the skin further.
Eczema Medication & Therapy
Topical cream and oral/injected medication could be recommended to keep symptoms under control. Prescription creams will help to control itching while repairing the skin. Oral medication can help to fight skin infection and relieve itching. Injected drugs could help to control inflammation in severe cases.
When at-home treatment and medication does not control symptoms, a dermatologist may choose to perform one of the following treatments:
- Ultraviolet Light Therapy. UVB or PUVA ultraviolet rays are effective for treating chronic cases, but increase risk for sunburn or skin cancer if used for too long.
- Wet Dressing Application. Wrapping the affected area with topical medication and wet bandages has proven effective with certain forms of eczema.
Eczema Treatment for Children
At-home treatment is almost always recommended for children before any cream or medication is prescribed. Be sure to keep skin well moisturized and avoid any products that seem to irritate skin.
At Mystic Valley Dermatology Associates, we provide individualized treatment plans and walk our patients through the process every step of the way. To schedule an appointment, please call (781) 438-6350.