The most common inflammatory skin condition, eczema, affects an estimated 30 million adult Americans. Eczema can range from redness and mild itching to severe cases resulting in cracked, damaged skin. Children are often affected, some from birth.
While symptoms vary greatly from person to person, most experience dry, sensitive skin and are familiar with the itch-scratch cycle that accompanies many forms of eczema, causing pain and discomfort. The area begins to itch, which then triggers the reactionary scratching, which damages the skin, leading to the release of inflammatory reactors in the body, and the cycle begins itself all over again.
- Atopic Dermatitis
is the most severe and chronic form, generally beginning in childhood. We often find a family history of atopic dermatitis as well as a triad of asthma, seasonal allergies, and eczema associated with this form of dermatitis.
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis
is a localized reaction when the skin comes in contact with certain substances or allergens such as fabrics, products, or poison ivy. A skin allergy test, called a patch test, is effective in determining approximately 90% of the possible allergens causing allergic contact dermatitis so they can be eliminated.
- Dyshidrotic Dermatitis
is characterized by itchy blisters on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. Generally lasting for about 3 weeks, dyshidrotic eczema blisters are often allergy or stress-related.
Eczema is a chronic condition, however one which can be managed by a variety of topical agents. Thicker creams help lock in moisture and heal the skin barrier and gentle, fragrance-free cleansers are ideal as they minimize the chances of irritating your skin. For severe conditions or broken skin, a topical medication may be required to soothe discomfort and aid in healing.
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