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Eczema—Understanding The Basics

Eczema is an all too common skin condition that leaves millions of people with rashes and dry itchy skin. Learn more about this common problem and find out how it can be treated.

Eczema Basics
Eczema includes a variety of skin conditions that result in dry, red, itchy skin and chronic rashes. These rashes can occur all over the body, but they are particularly common near the wrists, elbows, and knees. Eczema can affect both adults and children and it can be incredibly uncomfortable. If patients resort to scratching the skin in an attempt to gain relief, they also risk damaging the skin and getting infections.

EczemaEczema can be triggered by a wide variety of things. Children often develop eczema as a response to allergies and adults often experience rashes when their skin is very dry. Eczema and rashes can be caused by exposure to pet dander, dust, extreme temperatures, household cleaners, laundry detergents, and more. Stress, certain foods, and upper respiratory infections can also lead to flare-ups.

Living With Eczema
While eczema can cause patients a great deal of discomfort, there are many things you can do to protect your skin and avoid flare-ups as much as possible. You should always follow the instructions given by your dermatologist, but the following general recommendations can help:
• Avoid wearing itchy, coarse clothing, such as clothing made of wool.
• Keep track of what you eat for a few weeks and pay attention to your skin. Do you have more flare-ups after you eat dairy or red meat? It may help to get tested for food allergies.
• Use soap, laundry detergent, and other products that are formulated for sensitive skin. In many cases it is also wise to avoid scented products.
• Vacuum your home often to remove pet dander and dust. It may also help to get an air filter.
• Avoid spending time in extreme hot or extreme cold.
• Do your best to keep your stress levels low.

Treating Eczema
Treating eczema is very individualized and your treatment will be unique to your needs and circumstances. If you’d like relief from dry, itchy skin and chronic rashes, schedule an appointment at the Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center to learn about your options.

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