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Eczema: Protecting Your Skin from Infection, Cracking, and Discomfort

If you suffer from itchy, inflamed, and scaly skin, chances are you are experiencing eczema. The constant itching and the visible change in your skin can be embarrassing and the longer you wait to treat it the worse it can become. Meeting with the dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can provide you the best treatment options to getting your skin condition under control.


What Is Eczema?

More than 30 million Americans suffer from some form of eczema on their hands, feet, knees, chest, elbows, wrists, or other body parts. In addition to redness and itching, you may notice dry, cracked, or scaly skin often accompanied by small, raised bumps. It can appear sporadically or continuously at any age and with any gender. Eczema is often related to a family history of allergies, hay fever, or asthma, but can be caused by other things as well.


Causes of Eczema

Since eczema reveals itself in a variety of types and from a variety of causes, some known and some unknown, it is important to determine which kind you have before you can find the proper treatment. Different types of eczema can include atopic dermatitis, irritant/allergic contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis has no known cause, but many people are born with it. It is thought to come from an altered skin barrier or immune system defect. Dyshidrotic eczema and seborrheic dermatitis often affects the hands, feet, scalp, face, and other body areas in the form of blisters. Irritant/allergic dermatitis results from skin exposure to irritating chemicals such as bleach or harsh cleansers.

You and your doctor should examine your symptoms, their severity, and how often you have flare ups to help determine what kind of eczema you are experiencing. Even though the causes are numerous, there are many available eczema treatments to protect your skin from infection, cracking and discomfort.


Protecting Your Skin

Usually you and your dermatologist can diagnose your eczema visually, but biopsies and patch testing can also help. After diagnosis, your dermatologist will be able to provide you with skin care recommendations and/or necessary medications to prevent further discomfort, cracking, or infection.

Some simpler treatments for eczema include taking a shower instead of a bath and using lukewarm water, which can often help soothe any discomfort you are feeling. During your shower, it is recommended to skip standard bar soap and opt instead for a mild cleansing bar to prevent skin irritation. After your shower, moisturizing will help prevent your skin from cracking.

Clothing is also an important factor in preventing discomfort. Wearing soft cotton clothes and avoiding wool will keep you as comfortable as possible. Lastly, topical steroids, non-steroid treatments, antibiotics, oral antihistamines, and phototherapy or laser treatments can help with preventing cracked skin from eczema and protect your skin from infection.

If you’re in Bloomington, Illinois or the surrounding area and you suffer from eczema, contact the professional dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute. Our dermatologists can provide you with quality care and help get you the results you need for the eczema you are experiencing.

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