Eczema is a skin condition that causes your skin to be red, bumpy, and itchy. In some cases, it can often be painful. It causes the tissue of your skin to be more prone to sensitivity, infection, and dryness. It is not damaging to your health, and more than 15 million Americans have it. If you think you have eczema or another skin condition, visit AFC Urgent Care Springfield for a diagnosis. Learn more about preventing and maintaining eczema below.
How do I know if I have eczema?
It is normally easy to tell if you have eczema just by looking at it. It can be commonly confused with psoriasis, as both can appear red and patchy. Psoriasis, however, has thicker, well-defined scales compared to eczema. Signs of eczema include:
- Dry, itchy skin that can appear scaly or leathery
- Red rashes
- Bumps on the skin
- Crusting on skin
There are a variety of causes of eczema, as well. The most common cause is genetics. If other members of your family have eczema, the chance that you have it as well is increased. Overreactions in your immune system due to allergies or irritants can also cause flare-ups, as well as stress. Lastly, your physical environment can also take a toll on your body in general. Cigarette smoke, harsh soaps or fabrics, and dry air can all be causes or triggers for eczema.
Can I prevent it in the future?
Since eczema is normally caused by genetics, it can be difficult to truly prevent it from ever happening. There are specific steps, however, to control flare-ups and lower their severity. Some prevention options can include:
- Use mild soaps and cleansers while showering and pat, do not rub the skin when drying
- Apply a cream-based moisturizer after drying the skin to lock in moisture.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid irritation
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Use a humidifier while sleeping or throughout the day to add moisture back to the air
What are the best treatment options?
Treatment options involve understanding what triggers your eczema. If genetics is your main cause, then the main options include controlling it and treating it as it happens. Speaking with a dermatologist or other healthcare provider can help you determine the best course of action for treatment. The list above can also help with treatment if the physical environment is a trigger. Additionally, antihistamines or other prescriptions can help reduce pain or swelling. Avoid using overly hot water while showering, and try to maintain a regular room temperature. Fluctuations in temperature for the body can irritate the skin.