Eczema: The Symptoms and How to Treat Them
Eczema, also commonly known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition that often results in moderate to intense itching for sufferers. In most cases, eczema is a condition that lasts a lifetime, but for many people, the symptoms of eczema and the associated discomfort can be reduced.
The most common symptoms of eczema are patches or red, brownish or gray, scaly skin. These patches can occur anywhere on the body, but they are most common on the arms, hands, knees, elbows, face and on the upper chest. Almost all eczema sufferers experience moderate to severe itching from time to time, though the cause of the itching can vary from person to person. For some eczema sufferers, small, raised bumps can occur on the patches of skin that are irritated, as can cracks in the skin and thickened areas. Many eczema sufferers have skin that becomes irritated, and in some cases infected due to scratching and touching eczema rashes that appear on the skin during flare-ups.
If you have eczema, patches of itchy, scaly skin are likely to pop up on their own from time to time. However, there are some things that can trigger eczema. Avoiding them will help reduce eczema rashes and skin irritation.
Avoid Long, Hot Showers
Hot water has a tendency to dry out your skin, which can result in an eczema flare-up and cause severe itching. Many people with severe eczema will even begin to itch in the shower, especially if the water is very hot. If you have eczema, try to limit showers to 10 minutes, and make the water warm instead of hot. In the summer months when it is warm, consider reducing the temperature of the water that you use to bathe a little more, especially if you live in a dry climate that will sap moisture from your skin.
Don’t Wear Man-Made Fabrics
Man-made fabrics are more likely to irritate the skin that natural materials like cotton, which allow the skin to breathe. Along with man-made fabrics, eczema sufferers should limit their exposure to wool, which can cause severe irritation in some people.
One of the most important things you can do if you have eczema, along with using prescription eczema treatments prescribed by your doctor, is to moisturize your skin regularly. Apply an oil or cream-based moisturizer to your skin after you bathe to help seal in the moisture. If your skin is dry throughout the day, use a lubricating cream to add moisture when necessary.