Understanding Eczema

Understanding Eczema: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While it can be uncomfortable and frustrating to deal with, understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for managing and alleviating its effects. 

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterised by red, itchy, and inflamed patches of skin. It often appears in childhood but can persist into adulthood or develop later in life. While the exact cause of eczema remains unclear, it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors.

Symptoms of Eczema

The symptoms of eczema can vary from person to person and may include:

1. Itchy skin, which can be intense and disruptive to daily activities.

2. Red or brownish-gray patches of skin, especially on the hands, feet, elbows, knees, and face.

3. Dry, sensitive skin that may crack or become thickened over time.

4. Small, raised bumps that may ooze or crust over when scratched.

5. Swelling and inflammation of affected areas, leading to discomfort and pain.

Living with eczema can significantly impact one’s quality of life, causing emotional distress, sleep disturbances, and self-esteem issues. Therefore, seeking proper medical attention and treatment is essential for managing the condition effectively.

Treatment Options

Here at Southface Dermatology Clinic we have various treatment options to help alleviate symptoms and prevent flare-ups. These may include:

1. Moisturisers: Keeping the skin well-hydrated with emollients and moisturising creams can help reduce dryness and itching associated with eczema.

2. Topical Steroids: Prescription-strength corticosteroid creams or ointments can help reduce inflammation and itching during flare-ups.

3. Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors: Non-steroidal medications, such as tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, can be used to treat eczema in sensitive areas, such as the face and groin.

4. Antihistamines: Oral antihistamines may be prescribed to relieve itching and help improve sleep quality for individuals with eczema.

5. Phototherapy: Controlled exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light under medical supervision can help reduce inflammation and itching in some cases of eczema.

6. Immunomodulators: Biologic drugs that target specific immune system pathways may be recommended for severe cases of eczema that do not respond to other treatments.

It’s important for individuals with eczema to work closely with their dermatologist to develop a personalised treatment plan tailored to their specific needs and preferences. Additionally, adopting good skincare practices, avoiding triggers such as harsh detergents and fragrances, and managing stress can also help reduce the frequency and severity of eczema flare-ups.

Dermatology clinics play a crucial role in diagnosing eczema, educating patients about their condition, and providing effective treatment options to improve their quality of life. By staying informed and proactive about eczema management, both patients and healthcare providers can work together to minimise its impact and promote healthier, happier skin.

To book your skin consultation if you are worried you are struggling with eczema please call 01202702827 now.