“Having a chronic skin condition has affected my life more than I ever would have imagined. Sometimes my eczema makes me feel like I’m on a rollercoaster ride. No two days are alike, which makes it very hard to manage.” says Debbie Byrnes who has struggled with eczema her entire life. “What I know now is that my skin talks to me. My skin actually speaks to me. It sometimes yells at me with a whole-body flare. It sometimes whispers with a tingling itch.” says Lisa Choy, a lifelong eczema patient. These are just a few of the personal experiences of people living with eczema, shared with the National Eczema Association. October is Eczema Awareness Month and we are going to take some time to tell you what eczema is and provide tips from a Board-Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Susan Keiler. The word ‘eczema’ is Greek in origin and means “to effervesce, bubble or boil over” which aptly describes the red, inflamed, itchy patches that result from flare ups of this disease. Living with eczema can be a big challenge on many levels; physically, emotionally and even financially. While there is currently no cure, it is manageable with the help of expert medical care and the support of others in the eczema patient community.
“The exact cause of eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) is unknown and is likely due to a combination of hereditary factors and environmental exposures. There is a definite hereditary component with increased risk in families with history of atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis (hayfever) or asthma. Similarly, many children with eczema have a higher tendency to develop hay fever and/or asthma.” ~ Susan A. Keiler, MD
Dr. Keiler is a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Board-Certified Pediatric Dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology in Manitowoc, Pleasant Prairie and Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. Here are some of her dermatologist recommended tips for living with eczema:
- Watch for potential triggers which may include change in weather, irritants (harsh soaps, detergents, wool clothing), environmental allergens (dust mites, pet dander, pollen, molds), food, illness and stress.
- Avoid contact with potential irritants and known allergens. Avoid harsh soaps, detergents, perfumes, fabric softeners, and wool clothing.
- Practice a good dry skin care regimen: Bath daily but keep baths short (5-10 minutes) with lukewarm water and unscented soaps. Pat dry and apply topical medications to the affected areas and thick unscented emollient creams to the remainder of the body within 3 minutes of bathing to lock in the moisturizer.
- Treat with antihistamines as needed to reduce itch sensation which promotes the “itch-scratch” cycle of eczema and then treat secondary infections as needed.
The National Eczema Association is a comprehensive, recommended resource if you or someone you know is living with eczema. This #EczemaMonth they are asking us to join the #ExposingEczema movement by digitally raising our hands and your voices to support everyone touched by eczema. Always consult with an experienced dermatologist to get an accurate diagnoses and learn about the treatment options that are best for you. At Forefront Dermatology, we understand how eczema can affect your quality of your life. Give us a call at (855) 535-7175 to get more information on eczema treatment or to make an appointment at any of our locations.