If you suffer from eczema, you’re not alone. While most common in childhood, eczema can affect individuals of all ages and is a chronic problem for many people. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a hereditary condition. It typically runs in families and certain genes can cause some people to have extra sensitive skin. An overactive immune system and environmental factors can also contribute.

Symptoms for eczema include dry, itchy and red skin caused by inflammation. Skin can even become cracked and leathery and outbreaks can occur on any part of the body. These patches of dry, itchy and thickened skin usually appear on the hands, face, neck and legs. Children are often affected in the the knees and elbow areas. These patches may develop open sores and get infected.

How to Treat Eczema at Home

Like many allergic reactions, finding relief for your condition might be as simple as changing your dish soap or laundry detergent. By removing whatever is causing the reaction you may be able to minimize symptoms. If you’re not sure what is causing your symptoms, then there are a few ways you can treat eczema at home.

When experiencing an eczema outbreak, be sure to clean the area daily with a hypoallergenic soap and moisturize liberally after bathing. To soothe eczema outbreaks you can also apply a non-prescription steroid cream such as hydrocortisone. Apply the cream daily until the condition improves and you can also take oral Benadryl to minimize the itching.

Healthy eating, getting adequate sleep and staying healthy can also help minimize flares. Scratching can cause infection, so if needed cover the affected area with dressings or wear gloves at night to minimize skin damage.

When To Contact Your Dermatologist for Eczema

If you have an itchy rash or inflammation that hasn’t responded to a week of over the counter treatment it may be time to schedule an appointment with your local Radiant Complexions skin care specialist. You may need a more aggressive form of treatment.

You should also schedule an appointment if you develop yellowish to light brown crust or pus-filled blisters over existing patches of eczema. This may indicate a bacterial infection that should be treated with an antibiotic.

Having eczema can make you more vulnerable to other viral skin diseases such as herpes and can put you at increased risk of contracting the herpes simplex virus. Schedule an appointment if you develop numerous painful, small, fluid-filled blisters in the areas of your eczema. This may be a complication that needs to be treated promptly.

Your Radiant Complexions dermatology provider can help you with treatments that may include oral medications, steroid creams and light therapy.

Can I Be Tested for Eczema?

While there isn’t a single test to determine if you have eczema, your medical provider can provide a diagnosis based on your symptoms. You may be asked about your family history in addition to your current symptoms, as well as about possible exposure to irritants. You may also be asked about other possible causes such as food allergies, use of steroids or other medications. Your Radiant Complexions specialist may also try to rule out other skin irritations.

Diagnosis is based primarily on the patient’s symptoms, but medical history is also important. A doctor will often ask about a patient’s family history, other diseases such as asthma and hay fever, possible exposure to irritants, whether any foods are related to flare-ups, sleep disturbances, past treatment for skin symptoms and the use of steroids or other medications.

Schedule an appointment today to learn more about treatment options for your eczema.