Atopic dermatitis, or eczema as it is more commonly known, is a common skin condition that causes patches of skin to become dry, inflamed and cracked. These patches may itch or become rough and thickened and even blister in some rare cases. While there is no known cure for eczema there are many treatments that can help reduce symptoms and flare-ups. According to the National Eczema Association there are multiple treatments in development and eczema treatments have come a long way.
Eczema can present a challenge to treat, sometimes taking months or years to get under control and keep in check. Fortunately, there are many treatments and measures that can be taken at home to help prevent flare-ups and to minimize the uncomfortable symptoms. Some of the most common treatments include topical steroids or ointments to help control itch or oral steroids to control inflammation. Because some medications can have side effects or are not meant to be taken for lengthy periods of time, there are some less drastic treatments that can be applied such as wet dressings, over-the-counter moisturizers and light therapies.
We met with our provider, Cassie Tramel, PA-C to talk about some of the more frequently asked questions about eczema and what patients can do to help soothe symptoms with over-the-counter products.
What do you consider a go-to over-the-counter treatment for eczema patients?
We always recommend CeraVe products. They have eczema relief products that contain itch relief factors. You want a moisturizer that is thicker, about the consistency of Vaseline or Aquafor.
Are there other health conditions and medications that could exacerbate eczema flare-ups?
Cold and allergy medications that dry out congestion also have a tendency to dry out skin. If you are on medications that are diuretics, that can also contribute to dehydration so it’s important to stay hydrated to keep your skin from drying out as well. Dry skin is always more irritable.
Do you recommend anything special for when the seasons change and temperatures begin to fluctuate?
I definitely recommend a thick moisturizer free from scents or dyes. Because the skin barrier is compromised, scented moisturizers could really exacerbate already irritated skin. During colder months, it’s important to avoid hot showers and baths whenever possible or direct heat such as space heaters.
Are there any tips for patients that might want to better manage eczema?
We always tell patients to do a mild skin care regimen with hypoallergenic products. It’s important that the products do not contain dyes or scents that could irritate skin. We remind them to moisturize after bathing and to be sure to stay away from bath bombs or harsh soaps. Wool clothing can irritate skin so it’s important that their base layer be cotton wherever possible.
If you have eczema or if you would like to know if you’re a good candidate for certain treatments, schedule a consultation with one of our skilled providers today. With eight locations across Middle Tennessee, we can help you manage your eczema symptoms. Our patients are part of the SSD Family and we love giving back in any way that we can! Do you have a skin care story that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you! Send your story or photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org