Eczema Treatment RenoNot sure how you got that unsightly rash on your arm? It could be atopic dermatitis, better known as eczema. While 31.6 million people have eczema in the United States, not everyone knows how to treat it. Not only can eczema be unsightly, but also painful and problematic if left untreated. Don’t fret! In many cases, the treatment of eczema is easier than you may think.
Eczema SymptomsThe first step to treating your eczema is determining your symptoms. Most people experience one or more of the symptoms below:
- Dry, itchy, red or inflamed skin
- Returning rash
- Scaly, rough, or leathery spots
- Dark colored or swollen patches of skin
- If any of the above sounds like your rash, it’s likely that you’ve got dermatitis. It’s important to note that eczema is not “one size fits all”, and there are different types of eczema. It can be acute and rapid or chronic and persistent for months to years.
Determining the CausePerhaps the most important element to consider when treating your eczema is figuring out what caused it in the first place. It’s important to trace back your “steps” to determine if anything new may have trigged your eczema, or if anything may be irritating it further. Common causes include:
- Allergens: Both seasonal and food related allergies can cause eczema, even if you’ve never had a skin reaction before.
- Irritants: Most soaps and detergents used daily have some type of perfume or chemical that may be irritating your skin.
- Stress: Your long list of to-dos may be giving you more than just a headache. While there still is some uncertainty as to how stress causes eczema, it’s still considered a potential cause.
- Temperature: Yes, even the environment around you can give you a rash. Hot, cold, dry, or damp. This is especially true if you’ve recently gone from one climate extreme to the other.
- Hormones: Especially common for women, fluctuating hormone levels can cause eczema flare-ups.
TreatmentIt is important that once you’ve indicated the cause of your dermatitis, you begin treatment as soon as possible. If left untreated, eczema can become a much bigger issue than just unsightly skin; infections like staph, impetigo and cellulitis can form. Luckily, for many cases of eczema, all it takes is some TLC for your skin. After you’ve eliminated any potential triggers, try some of these suggestions:
- Replace lost moisture in the skin using lotions or creams, especially after showering.
- Apply a topical steroid (hydrocortisone); these sometimes can worsen some skin conditions, so use carefully.
- Wear loose, soft, cool clothing.
- Try perfume-free, or gentle soaps and detergents; products designed for babies often are great options.
- Reduce the frequency of showering, and use warm (not hot!) water.
- If itching is present, take over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl or Zyrtec. This is important as scratching can increase your risk of infection.