Nearly one in four Americans are afflicted with eczema. While the term is often ascribed to any itchy rash, true eczema is more serious, more embarrassing, and more uncomfortable than that. All patients with eczema complain of dry itching skin and may develop secondary skin infections as a result of scratching. Eczema can impact you physically, but its effect on your self-esteem cannot be underestimated.
At Old Metairie Dermatology, Dr. Patricia Farris and Dr. Mamina Turegano understand the impact eczema can have on you as well as on your loved ones in New Orleans. While there is no cure for eczema, there are ways to treat it. Our eczema treatment goal is to control inflammation and break the itch-scratch cycle. This can be achieved by using topical anti-inflammatory creams, moisturizers, and oral antihistamines. An anti-inflammatory diet and specially selected supplements may also be helpful. Let our physicians provide you with an integrative treatment plan.
Contact us by calling (504) 836-2050 today to schedule an informative consultation with our medical dermatologists in Metairie, Louisiana.
Do You Know Your Eczema Triggers?
Eczema affects people of all ages and skin types, and it can be a perpetual cycle of discomfort. First, your skin itches, which you relieve temporarily by scratching, which exacerbates the inflammation that caused you to scratch initially, which causes you to scratch more.
Although there is no outright cure for eczema, there are plenty of factors or triggers that, if known, can help you manage your condition. You can be affected by such single triggers as stress, hormones, heredity, your environment or other factors, which may include the following:
- Harsh soaps, shampoos, or detergents
- Juice from fruits or vegetables
- Pollen, mold, pets, or dandruff
- Microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi
- Temperature or humidity extremes
- Foods, such as nuts, seeds, dairy, eggs, soy, and wheat
- Hormone changes from puberty, pregnancy, or menstruation
- Damaged, broken skin
You can also be affected by a combination of any of the above factors. The bottom line is that triggers vary from person to person. In some women, pregnancy is a major factor while in others it improves their skin condition. Often, managing your eczema is as easy as avoiding your triggers.
Learn how your diet may be connected to eczema at WebMD.com.
However, if you don’t know your triggers, you should schedule a consultation with Old Metairie Dermatology near New Orleans to determine what they are. Once you learn your triggers, one of the best ways to manage eczema is to avoid them. However, since these triggers are often part of your everyday life, this could be easier said than done.
So, what other eczema treatment options do you have?
Types of Treatment for Chronic Itchy Skin
If you have eczema, your skin doesn’t produce as many fats and oils as that of other people. Your skin doesn’t hold water as well, which weakens its protective properties, breaking it down so that bacteria and irritants get into your skin more easily, thus causing irritation, cracking, inflammation, and more.
You could develop other skin infections due to scratching, so your treatment goal should be controlling the inflammation to break the cycle of itching and scratching. Regardless of which treatment suits you, you should diet accordingly by consuming foods with anti-inflammatory properties and taking special supplements.
Let’s take a look at several types of eczema treatment.
Antibiotics are a short-term solution in many instances because they are prescribed to target the bacteria causing your irritation. However, since antibiotics don’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria, they can worsen your condition by killing off the good bacteria that support your immune system. Without these beneficial bacteria, your immune system weakens and renders you essentially defenseless.
Topical creams are very useful for managing your eczema, but as you continue to use them, their effectiveness wanes, so you must use increasingly stronger creams to get the results you want.
Antihistamines are effective for treating your itchiness, but they don’t address your skin or any other aspects of your eczema condition. Another drawback is that they cause drowsiness, so taking them during the day can be problematic. Extensive research is still being conducted to determine the efficacy of antihistamines as an eczema treatment.
One method of eczema treatment is to use special detergents and soaps that are gentle and fragrance-free. You should also keep your home and work environment as dust-free as possible and, since your skin gets parched, apply special moisturizing lotions and use a humidifier.
To get more itch relief, putting a cold compress on the affected areas is also effective. Also, though it may come as a surprise, limiting your exposure to water helps, so no long baths or showers.
Additional Tips to Manage Itchy, Dry Skin
As long as you remember that there’s no cure, you not only can manage your eczema better but also your expectations.
With your New Orleans dermatologist, create a skin care regimen and stick to it every day. We recommend following some iteration of the following plan:
- Take short showers or baths with mild soaps and warm, not hot, water
- Massage rich moisturizing creams and lotions into your skin
- Hydrate your skin frequently
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothes
- Reduce your stress (meditation or yoga are particularly effective)
- Avoid your triggers as much as possible
Your chances of managing your eczema and living comfortably increase by following these steps.
Contact a New Orleans Dermatologist at Old Metairie Dermatology
Eczema can disrupt your life if you ignore it. There are many over-the-counter eczema treatments available Louisiana to treat milder cases, but more severe cases require stronger medications. Regardless, before you start an eczema treatment program, make sure you do so on the advice of a medical dermatologist who knows your eczema history and triggers. To manage your symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact Old Metairie Dermatology today. Fill out our online contact form, call (504) 836-2050, or drop by our office in the Old Metairie Village Shopping Center.
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