What is eczema?
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin that can occur at any age and affect any race. The dry skin and flare ups that eczema causes can be physically and emotionally hard to handle. During an eczema flare-up skin can become itchy and appear red, crusted, scaly or blistered. A wide variety of both natural and medicated eczema treatments are available to handle flare-ups.
A doctor or dermatologist will be able to diagnose your condition as eczema and provide treatment options. To diagnose eczema a doctor or dermatologist will perform a thorough physical examination of the skin. Often, questions will be asked regarding when the symptoms appeared, if there were any changes in environment or contact with irritants known to cause flare-ups. Your doctor may also perform a skin "patch test" to identify the specific irritant causing the condition.
What causes eczema?
Doctors have not been able to find and agree upon the exact cause of eczema but have found that it tends to run in families. If someone in your family has eczema you may have a predisposition to developing the condition yourself. Eczema can also be caused or worsened when skin comes into contact with harsh soaps, detergents or fabrics. Many believe that stress can also trigger flare-ups. Harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat or cold can also be a contributing factor to flare-ups.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
Eczema symptoms can be mild to severe and are different for every person. Eczema flare-ups are most often seen on the face, hands, neck, elbows, and knees. An intense itching of the skin is typically the first sign of an eczema flare-up. Itching is commonly followed by blisters or dry, scaly skin.
How can I treat eczema?
Treatment is based on the individual's age and unique symptoms. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes and the use of medications prescribed by a doctor or dermatologist. The most commonly prescribed medications are Cortico Steroid Creams that can be damaging to the skin with prolonged use. Certain oral antihistamines are also prescribed to reduce itching. Keeping the skin hydrated and protected with Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion can help prevent flare-ups.
Eczema can often lead to other conditions and complications. Bacterial and viral infections are a common complication associated with eczema. Allergies to topical treatments such as medications and steroids can also occur.
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