Your Child’s Rash: Is it Eczema?
Children who have a history of allergies or asthma in their family have a stronger chance of developing eczema. According to studies, approximately 65% of children who have this chronic skin condition will outgrow it by adolescence. However, while a child experiences the occasional skin rash, life can include too much worry. Here, we discuss how to understand your child’s dermatologic needs and how to meet them.
What Causes Eczema?
Normally, there is a protective barrier of lipids that covers the epidermis, the uppermost layer of skin tissue. This barrier holds water molecules in while simultaneously blocking potential threats from the environment. The integrity of this protective barrier is affected by genes and, in some people, the barrier is not quite as strong as it should be. A compromised skin barrier allows moisture to escape and irritants to enter where they don’t belong. Irritants can come from a multitude of directions, including dyes from soaps and fragrances from lotions and laundry detergent. These irritants trigger inflammation that leads to redness and rash.
What Parent’s can do to Help Their Child
It is unnerving to see your child struggle with a rash that seems to linger, spread from one place to another, or recur periodically. If symptoms occur with any degree of regularity or they persist for more than a few days, a dermatologic exam should be scheduled. A pediatrician may be able to accurately diagnose eczema, or you may want to see a dermatologist whose extensive training focuses only on conditions of the skin and nails.
When a child has been diagnosed with eczema, the plan of action may revolve mostly around management with lifestyle remedies. There is no cure for eczema, only ways to prevent and minimize symptoms. You may help your child by:
- Learning triggers. These may be certain foods, soaps, and even weather conditions.
- Choose “free and clear” products that do not contain dyes or fragrance.
- Bathe your child in warm water, patting them dry and quickly applying a thick, unscented lotion.
- Apply lotion two or three times a day as needed to promote a healthy skin barrier.
- Itching can make the rash worse. Talk with your doctor about an appropriate antihistamine to keep on hand just in case.
- Talk with your child’s doctor about a prescription cream to calm a rash that has begun. Fast action can resolve a flare-up quickly so your child can get back to a more comfortable state.
- Discuss your concerns about medication if you have them. Some parents are apprehensive to use steroid creams due to misperceptions about side effects. The more openly you communicate with your child’s doctor, the more capable you are of finding a solution that works for your family.
We are proud to offer pediatric dermatology services in Exton, Coatesville, and Kennett Square. Call 610-594-6660 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists.
Winter Tips to Avoid Eczema Flare-Up
Weather changes can be unkind to the skin. If you have a condition such as eczema, the transition from one season to the next may bring particular challenges. During the winter months, some people struggle to manage flare-ups of itching, redness, and irritation. The primary reason could be that the drop in temperature that occurs this time of year coincides with a dip in humidity. Dry air doesn’t have to make you hibernate to save your skin. Here, we offer a few tips to maintain dermatologic health throughout the cold-weather months.
- Change up your skincare routine. One of the most common mistakes that all people make with their skin is using the same skincare products all year round. When the air becomes massively dry in the winter, the skin needs much more TLC. Experts suggest switching to an oil-based moisturizer and emollient creams that are thicker than the lotions used during the summer. To avoid a greasy feeling on the face, it may be beneficial to layer products, beginning with a nourishing serum and then moving on to a lightweight moisturizer.
- Layer clothing. There are several advantages to dressing in layers. For the person with eczema, layered clothing allows them to have more control over changing body temperature. Being bundled up outside prevents discomfort, but doesn’t work inside because overheating causes an inflammatory response for eczema patients.
- Add some moisture to the air. Areas in which time is spent should be as comfortable as possible to prevent an eczema flare up, and humidity is a must. Placing a humidifier in the bedroom, living room, and office inhibits cold-weather problems like dry, cracked skin.
- Get some vitamin D. Studies have suggested, and vitamin D helps the skin repair itself. During the winter when the sun shines less often, many people become deficient in this vital nutrient. A doctor may perform a vitamin D test to identify how much supplementation is needed to provide health benefits. A supplement may be prescribed or purchased at a health food store.
Get the help you need to handle wintertime skin woes quickly. Call 610.594.6660 to schedule a visit with an experienced dermatologist in our Coatesville, Exton, or Kennett Square office.
Eczema in Infants
Eczema can be a difficult skin condition to recognize, especially in infants whose skin may be more reactive to stimuli. According to research, 10 to 20 percent of infants may develop this chronic dermatologic disease. If an infant frequently shows signs of redness and bumps on the arms and legs or in the creases of the elbows and knees, a visit with a dermatologist can provide insight into potential reasons. Because eczema is an incurable but very treatable condition, it is vital to obtain an accurate diagnosis for that persistent rash.
Here, we discuss a few strategies that may soothe eczema irritation on an infant’s skin.
Switch Laundry Detergent
Infants are more prone to skin sensitivities than adults as it is. If eczema is also suspected, one of the first strategies to try is changing laundry detergent. Often, dermatologic inflammation results from a reaction to the scent or dye in laundry products, including both soap and fabric softeners. Products labeled as “free and clear” are made without fragrance or dye and are thus better suited to people with sensitive skin or diseases like eczema.
This same strategy applies to soaps and lotions used on infant skin.
Apply Cool Compresses
A baby is not likely to handle the application of an ice pack on their skin. However, cool compresses can be used to soothe skin during times in which eczema flares up. For the best effect, the skin should be cooled for about five minutes and then left alone for 20 minutes. This cycle can be repeated as necessary.
Apply Emollient Cream
It is a misconception to believe that a rash needs to be dried out to go away. Particularly when we are dealing with eczema, moisture becomes a priority. Infants with eczema may find relief when their skin is kept moist with a thick emollient cream like Aquaphor or Eucerin. Creams should be fragrance-free. Ingredients like petroleum jelly and lichochalone are also appealing because these substances create a soothing moisture barrier.
The Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center has offices in Kennett Square, Coatesville, and Exton. To schedule a consultation, call 610-594-6660.
The Summertime Woes of Eczema
The end of winter tends to be a time of great celebration for the person with eczema. The dry air is left behind and months of warm weather lie ahead. What could disrupt all the pleasures of summer! A flare-up, that’s what.
Whether eczema is a problem or not, environmental changes of any kind, even a change of season, provokes changes in the skin. Some of the climate variances are good for eczema, but it is important to recognize where hazards may be hiding. Triggers may be disguised as:
- A refreshing pool. Chlorinated water can be drying to the skin.
- Warm weather and humidity. Eczema-prone skin hates being dry, but too much moisture, especially in the form of sweat, can spell trouble. Warmth also increases body temperature, which heightens the itch reflex, creating a risk of aggressive scratching and causes skin-thickening.
- Sun protection. Sunscreen ingredients may be irritating to some people with eczema.
Summertime Tips to Manage Eczema
It is possible that the summer months will be the best time of year for your eczema! If you notice unwelcomed changes, remember a few simple management tips:
- Your skin needs extra exfoliation during the summer months. Keep it gentle!
- Lighten up on the type of moisturizer you use. Stow away the heavy emollient cream for Fall, when the air starts to dry.
- Keep showers shorter and cooler as much as possible, and apply lotion while skin is damp.
- Maintain indoor temperatures at a comfortable level for your skin.
- Add moisture to indoor air when needed, using a cool-air humidifier.
- Choosing SPF 30 products with a “sensitive skin” formulation may help you avoid the rash.
- Showering after swimming washes away chlorine that increases dryness. Remember to moisturize, too.
Eczema affects people of all ages and poses significant concerns for comfort and dermatologic health. If you or a loved one aren’t sure why rashes develop periodically and worsen under certain circumstances, schedule a consultation with us to determine if it could be eczema. Our experienced staff can develop a management plan to help you. Call the Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center at 610-594-6660.
Finding Ways to Manage Eczema can Improve Comfort
People who live with eczema may constantly worry that they may experience an inconvenient, uncomfortable flare up itchy, dry skin. This condition, formally called atopic dermatitis, affects children and adults of all ages. The underlying issue in eczema is hyperactivity in the immune system which leads to an intense response to certain irritants.
It is the uncertainty of eczema that can make this condition so extremely frustrating. When working with patients, one of the goals that we seek to achieve is the identification of irritants that will trigger the unwarranted immune response.
Some of the common instigators of an eczema flare-up include:
- Pet dander
- Chemicals in detergents, soaps, lotions, and fragrances
- Food allergies
- Synthetic clothing fabrics
- Extreme hot or cold
In order to develop a successful treatment plan for eczema, an accurate diagnosis is a must. We perform a thorough assessment consisting of a physical examination as well as a full medical history and family history. In some cases, patch testing may also be recommended to determine if certain allergens are either causing or exacerbating itchiness and other uncomfortable symptoms.
The avoidance of triggers is an essential aspect of managing eczema. Making small changes such as trading scented products for all-natural, unscented, hypoallergenic body care and avoiding exposure to excessive heat or cold may have a positive effect on the skin. Additional recommendations for preventing dryness and itching include keeping the skin moisturized and avoiding scratching as much as possible.
In conjunction with lifestyle modification to manage eczema, some people may also require specific dermatologic treatment. Some of the ways a dermatologist may address eczema include:
- Prescription-strength antihistamines to control itching.
- Corticosteroid medication to soothe irritated skin.
- Maintenance with non-steroidal topical medication.
- Control infection with topical or oral antibiotics.
It is important to us to help you gain control over the health and appearance of your skin. Eczema is a chronic condition that may affect you in a very different way than any other person. With focused attention and an extensive background in treatment options, your dermatologist can assist you in finding your path toward healthier skin.
Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center has three offices to serve your needs. Schedule a visit with us for help managing eczema.
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 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.
Eczema 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 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.