What Is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition characterized by red, itchy, flaky patches of skin. These patches are usually located around the mouth or nose. They may appear anywhere on your body but most commonly affect the hands and feet. The condition affects both men and women equally. Some people with eczema have no symptoms at all while others experience itching, rashes, and blisters. Sometimes these conditions go away without any treatment being necessary. Other times they get worse over time until they become very painful and/or cause other problems such as scarring or even cancer.
How Do You Get Eczema?
The exact causes of eczema are not completely known, however there are several theories about how it develops. One theory suggests that when certain types of bacteria from the environment come into contact with your skin, they produce chemicals which cause inflammation. Another theory suggests that exposure to sunlight triggers an immune response. However, the exact mechanism behind this reaction is still unknown.
One thing is for sure though: if you have eczema on your genitals, then you’re more likely to develop it elsewhere on your body too! This is called the Koebner phenomenon. It’s named after a dermatologist called Wihelm Koebner who, in the nineteenth century, observed that people who developed a skin disease on the lower part of the leg often went on to develop dermatitis on the upper part of the leg too.
What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema?
The rash of the skin is the main symptom of eczema. It occurs on the elbows, knees, hands, feet, neck, and face. It is also common for those who suffer with eczema to experience a burning or itchy sensation in the affected area. While some people get eczema when they are young, others develop it during their adult years.
If you have eczema on your genitals then you may also suffer from a burning or itchy feeling in that area too. The rash itself can vary in appearance and is likely to be red, white, and/or bumpy. White patches are most common on the insides of the elbows and knees. Eczema on your genitals is also likely to crack, especially if it is dry.
It can also lead to a greater risk of infection.
When To See A Doctor?
There are some cases where you should seek medical advice immediately. These include:
A skin infection is present.
The skin damage is very extensive.
The skin has become infected (either with a non-harmful or a harmful pathogen).
The area of skin loss is large.
You have a weak immune system.
How Can You Treat Eczema?
The best way to treat eczema is to keep the affected area clean and prevent it from drying out. It’s a good idea to apply a moisturizer that contains steroid medication. If left untreated, eczema can cause the skin to harden and even crack open. This increases your risk of developing an infection. If you find that this is the case for you, talk to your doctor about applying a topical steroid cream.
It is also important to avoid anything that irritates your skin such as soaps, laundry detergents, and wool. If you are allergic to certain fabrics such as wool and need to wear them, you should apply a steroid cream before you do so. It is also a good idea to wear cotton undergarments as this will help keep your skin dry.
How Long Does It Take For Eczema To Clear Up?
The time it takes for your skin to clear up depends on what is causing the problem. In most cases, if you can successfully treat the primary problem, the eczema should begin to heal itself and eventually go away completely. In some people, the condition becomes chronic and can appear and reappear at any time.
My Eczema Is Causing Me A Lot Of Embarrassment.
Can It Be Cured?
There is no known cure for eczema but it can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. There are also some things that you can do to help yourself:
Corticosteroid creams and ointments: These are the most common medication used to treat eczema. They work by reducing the skin’s sensitivity to allergens (such as dust mites and pet dander). Itching sensations usually subside within a few hours of application.
Moisturizing ointments: These are useful for protecting your skin from infection caused by scratching. They also help to seal in the body’s natural oils.
Antihistamines: These can be used to combat the itching sensations caused by eczema. They work by blocking histamine, a compound that is released from the body as part of the immune response.
Sunscreen: If you have eczema, you should try to stay out of the sun as much as possible. The sun can make your condition worse so it is a good idea to wear sunscreen and protective clothing when you are outdoors.
Lifestyle Changes: Quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol intake can also help to relieve the symptoms of eczema. Research has shown that smokers are more likely to have reactions to allergens and have a higher risk of skin infections.
When Should You See A Doctor?
There are some instances where you need to see a doctor immediately. These include:
You feel faint.
You begin to have difficulty breathing.
You experience chest pain.
Your skin appears to be infected.
The affected area is larger than three inches in diameter.
The area of skin loss is larger than three square inches.
The affected area of skin is on your hands, feet, or genitals.
If you are pregnant or have diabetes, you should see a doctor immediately if you develop eczema symptoms.
What Else Can Be Done To Manage My Eczema?
If you have eczema, there are several steps that you can take to help prevent your symptoms from becoming severe. These include:
Take a lukewarm bath or shower using a mild soap. Scrubbing your skin too hard can aggravate your condition. After bathing, apply a moisturizing lotion or cream to prevent your skin from drying out.
Take steps to avoid exposure to your allergen. If you are allergic to pet dander, for instance, you should not own a pet and should keep your distance from pets owned by others.
Practice good hygiene. This is especially important when the weather is warmer or when there has been a power outage. Keep your fingernails cut short to prevent you from scratching yourself accidentally.
Wear loose clothing made of cotton. Also, wear soft socks to bed.
If your job requires you to be outside a lot or if your hobbies take you outside, try to stay in the shade as much as possible and wear sun block of at least SPF 15.
Keep your humidifier clean and operating properly.
Do not smoke and limit your alcohol intake.
Elevate the skin that is affected by the eczema. Use a pillow to help keep your skin off the sheets while you sleep.
If you develop an infection, take antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.
How Can I Save Money On Eczema Medicines?
If you have insurance, check your policy to see what is covered. Compare prices between different pharmacies and buy prescription medicines from the one that offers the best deal. If you need to you can also ask your doctor for a prescription for a “90-day supply”. By doing so, you can bypass the pharmacy and have your medications directly mailed to you.
If possible, try to avoid taking expensive doctor prescribed medicines and use over-the-counter products instead. If your condition is mild, you may be able to save a lot of money by relying on lotions and ointments rather than pills. Read the labels on all of your medication to make sure that you are not paying for ingredients that you do not need.
What Are Some Alternative Treatments For Eczema?
If you are interested in finding an alternative treatment for your eczema, there are several products that may help. These include:
Cortisone cream and ointment can soothe your itchy skin but it is important to only use this on limited occasions. Otherwise, you could experience side effects such as thinning skin, facial “crows feet”, or tissue damage.
Creams that contain tacrolimus or pimecrolimus are also good at preventing skin from becoming irritated. These creams are less likely to cause infection than corticosteroid creams.
Calcineurin inhibitors such as pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are topical immunosuppressants. These drugs have a lower risk of causing skin problems and can also be used to treat children with eczema.
Vitamin D3 ointment can reduce the inflammation and itching caused by eczema. It can also help to speed up the healing process of your skin.
Emollients such as Petroleum Jelly can help to moisturize your skin. Those with eczema tend to have very dry skin so this is an important step in preventing infection and protecting your skin.
What Other Types Of Products Are Helpful?
It is also a good idea to use gentle cleansers and moisturizers on your skin. First, make sure that you are only using synthetic fibers such as polyester or acrylic when you clothe yourself. Natural fibers such as cotton can irritate the skin. Second, be sure to always moisturize after you bathe or shower. Do not use any soap on the eczema affected area but stick with moisturizing cleansers instead. This can help to reduce dryness and cracking of the skin.
What Is The Outlook For Eczema?
Eczema is a long-term condition that you will have to deal with on a daily basis. There is no cure for this condition but there are many treatment options that can reduce the symptoms and help you to live a more comfortable life. With proper treatment, most people will find that their symptoms become less severe as they age.
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