When the weather changes, many of us start dealing with dry skin. But how do you know if it’s seasonal chapped hands or a more serious eczema flare-up?
What You Need To Know About Eczema
Eczema actually isn’t just one skin condition — it’s a group of related conditions. The most common condition is atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory condition that causes dry, itchy red patches that flare up when your immune system reacts to a trigger.
Other varieties of eczema include contact dermatitis, nummular eczema, and stasis dermatitis. The difference between the specific conditions is the type of rash and what causes it. Mostly, though, eczema is an allergic reaction caused by a trigger or set of triggers.
Common Triggers To Watch Out For
- Heredity: Like many skin conditions, if parents have eczema, their children are more likely to deal with the condition as well.
- Allergies: According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, up to 80% of children with eczema go on to develop asthma or hay fever. Allergens themselves (think: pollen, pet dander, and mold) may also be triggers for some people with eczema.
- Weather: Common triggers for attacks include changes in weather, such as dropping temperatures.
- Chemical irritants: Reactions to other common irritants, like an itchy wool sweater or cigarette smoke, differ from person to person — someone may develop a full-body rash from a certain type of laundry detergent, while another would see no change in their skin.
- Stress: Stress can cause a flare-up, but eczema flare-ups can also cause stress themselves. Eczema rashes can be uncomfortable, and depending on how severe they are, they might even make sleeping and concentrating on work difficult.
How Do You Treat Eczema?
Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for eczema, but there are lots of ways to manage it and keep symptoms under control.
- Showering in warm water is less dehydrating than showering in hot water.
- Moisturizing right after a shower helps lock in hydration. If lotion isn’t enough to manage symptoms, a dermatologist might prescribe a steroid cream or anti-inflammation medication.
- Medications, like steroids, antihistamines, and topical antiseptic, may also help control symptoms.
Eczema can be uncomfortable — especially during the drier fall and winter months — but with proper treatment, symptoms can be managed.
Participate in a Research Study
Austin area residents: are you or someone you know struggling with skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, or rosacea? Participating in a research study provides an opportunity to be involved in the process of discovering new treatments while receiving compensation for time and travel. Inquire about eligibility by calling DermResearch at 512-349-0500 or view our current studies