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Will I Always Have Eczema?

Will I Always Have Eczema?

Eczema is a group of skin conditions that affects approximately 32 million women, men, and children in the United States. Eczema usually appears early in life. If you’ve had itchy, dry skin since you were a child, you probably have a form of eczema, such as: 

Although milder cases of eczema may resolve or diminish as you age, it’s a lifelong condition for most people. When you’re in the middle of a flare-up, it almost never goes away on its own, and uncontrolled eczema flares can lead to complications, such as eye problems and mood problems.

Catherine Fuller, MD, is an expert allergist and immunologist in West Los Angeles, California. When you have eczema, you may also have allergies that trigger flares. How can you manage your eczema to avoid a lifetime of discomfort and itching? Following are some tips and treatment options. 

Find your triggers

Even though there’s not one single cause of eczema, the interaction of your genes, the environment, and your immune system are involved in most cases. In fact, many people with eczema have an overactive immune system that launches attacks on healthy tissues (like your skin) as well as on benign substances that enter your body, such as pollen.

Because allergies are a component of many cases of eczema, we test you for allergies so that you can identify the foods, chemicals, and substances that may trigger an attack. Some of the most common allergies in eczema include:

In some cases, even meat juices may trigger a reaction if they get on your skin. Once you know what substances your immune system tends to attack, you can take steps to avoid contact with your triggers.

Drench your skin with nonallergenic emollients

Regular body and face lotions sometimes have harsh ingredients that dry your skin. They may also contain perfumes or colors that could cause an allergic reaction. To help soothe your skin, we recommend nonallergenic emollients, such as:

Occlusives (seal moisture in)

Humectants (bind water to skin)

Apply them after a warm bath or shower. Simply pat yourself dry, warm the emollient in your hands, and smooth it over your skin.

You can use emollients throughout the day, whenever your skin feels dry or irritated. You may even follow up with an emollient after you wash your hands to avoid that overdry feeling that comes with soap cleansing.

Soothe your skin

You may not eat oatmeal often, but when you add it to your bath, it nourishes your skin. Oatmeal contains both anti-inflammatory and antioxidative substances that soothe itchy, irritated rashes. Be sure you keep the bath water warm or tepid, not hot. After you pat dry, apply emollients.

Instead of scratching rashes, consider using cold compresses to avoid irritating or infecting your skin. Rinse a washcloth in cool water and apply it to the itch until it subsides.

Use medications to control itch and discomfort

If soothing oatmeal baths and emollients aren’t enough to alleviate your itch, we may recommend or prescribe topical or oral medications. You may use one or more medications, such as:

If these steps don’t help, we may recommend phototherapy or, if your case is severe, biologics. Biologics, such as injectable Dupixent®, help control the inflammation.

Don’t scratch the itch; treat your eczema with effective therapies and allergy testing. Call our friendly team at Catherine Fuller, MD, for eczema help today at 310-828-7978 or use our online appointment request form.

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