Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a common skin condition characterized by the inflammation, swelling or irritation of the skin. Eczema affects as many as 35 million Americans. Eczema is not dangerous, but it can cause significant discomfort if the skin itches. When that happens, the condition may worsen if the eczema is scratched.
Though there is no cure for eczema, its’ effects can be controlled through diligent care. Treatment options include:
- Bathing follow-up. After bathing, applying a moisturizer on the affected area can help control eczema. In many cases, the most effective moisturizer is available only by prescription after a visit to a physician.
- Topical steroids. These are a common and effective relief option for eczema. Topical steroids help reduce inflammation, soothe the skin to prevent soreness, reduce itchiness and allow the affected area to heal. As a naturally-occurring substance in our bodies, steroids regulate growth and immune functions. Of the many types of steroids that are available, corticosteroids are the type used to treat eczema because of their ability to control inflammation.
- Non-steroid drugs. A topical calcineurin inhibitor (TCI) is a prescription drug that does not contain steroids. If you are concerned about the use of steroids to treat your eczema, ask your doctor about Elidel® and Protopi®, the two types of TCI that can provide effective alternatives.
- Phototherapy. On occasion, eczema can be treated through the use of ultraviolet (UVB) light, known as phototherapy. In phototherapy, UVB rays are isolated and directed toward the affected areas. Phototherapy treatments should be applied under medical supervision.
If you or a family member is living with eczema:
Find a Forefront physician nearest you to learn about treatment options and lifestyle changes that can help prevent flare-ups and eliminate eczema disease symptoms in many cases.