Do you or a loved one have eczema? This chronic skin condition requires treatment by a dermatologist. It doesn’t resolve on its own. If left untreated, it worsens and can easily turn into a bacterial infection.
Eczema is more common in childhood and infancy than in adulthood. Roughly 10-20% of infants have it. The good news is that if your baby has it, they have a 1-in-2 chance of outgrowing it as they get older.
Our board-certified dermatologists at Seacoast Dermatology have treated many patients with eczema. We have lots of tools in our medical arsenal to combat this inflammatory condition.
What causes eczema?
Eczema is an umbrella term for a number of related skin conditions. If you’ve had eczema since you were a child, you have atopic dermatitis; it’s the most common form of eczema.
Your skin has a protective barrier that helps it hold in moisture and protect you from outside toxins, viruses, and bacteria. If you have eczema, your skin’s protective function doesn’t work properly.
Your skin becomes too dry. It flakes and turns red and itchy. The skin can easily crack, which makes that area very sore and painful. Acute cases of eczema cause blister-like bumps. Cold, dry weather can make eczema worse.
Your genes likely play a role in the development of eczema. If close relatives have it, you’re more likely to have it too. If you have allergies like hay fever, you’re more prone to eczema.
Contact dermatitis is another form of eczema. It can result from a wide range of triggers, including:
- Poison ivy
- Materials such as wool and latex
These produce an allergic reaction in your body.
What treatments are available for eczema?
We work with you to calm your eczema and keep it at bay. Prescription antihistamines and moisturizers can help. Topical steroid creams help heal cracked skin. You may need an antibiotic if bacteria causes an infection.
We might recommend light therapy, in which we shine a special wavelength of ultraviolet light on the target area. It calms the inflammation your skin has produced in response to a trigger. When needed, we prescribe special lotions that change your immune function.
Can I do anything to minimize eczema flare-ups?
Yes. Know your triggers. Your body reacts to specific substances. Someone else with eczema may not react to the ones that bring on your symptoms. If you’re not sure about a substance, note when you came in contact with it and determine if you have a reaction in the next few days.
Using a good quality moisturizer helps keep your skin from becoming too dry. We recommend moisturizers that are going to work well for you. Another tip for helping to calm your eczema is to wear cotton gloves at night. They prevent you from scratching your skin when you’re asleep.
Call one of our convenient locations for an appointment if you or your child has eczema or click here to use our online scheduling app. We have offices in Portsmouth, Dover, and Exeter, New Hampshire.