Eczema is a skin condition that causes intensely itchy, inflamed, red patches of skin, often on your hands, elbows, and knees. The skin tends to thicken and appear scaly, and it may blister and ooze.
Patients with eczema often experience anxiety related to eczema and may feel embarrassed by the appearance of their skin, prompting them to limit their social interactions. While eczema has no cure, it is possible to effectively manage the condition and gain your confidence back.
What is eczema?
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. Children with eczema may outgrow it, while others experience flare-ups throughout adulthood. Eczema results from a damaged or otherwise dysfunctional outer layer of skin, called the epidermis.
Despite being the thinnest layer of skin, this outermost layer plays a key role in retaining moisture and providing a protective barrier against pathogens and environmental elements.
In people with eczema, the outer layer of skin doesn’t work the way it should. As a result, the skin loses moisture rapidly and is sensitive and easily irritated. This causes it to become very dry and intensely itchy.
How is eczema treated?
When you visit allergy and immunology specialist Dr. Ulrike Ziegner here at Riviera Allergy Medical Center in Redondo Beach, California, you can expect to discuss your symptoms. After a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Ziegner creates an individualized treatment plan depending on your symptoms, medical history, and co-existing allergies or immune issues.
People with eczema typically find that certain things trigger flare-ups or make flare-ups worse. Discovering and avoiding triggers is a key component to limiting flare-ups. Common eczema triggers are:
- Food allergens
- Cold temperatures
- Hot temperatures
- Skin care products
If you have eczema, your skin is sensitive and requires special care. Learning to care for your skin goes a long way in preventing flare-ups. Eczema skin care involves:
- Keeping skin hydrated
- Avoiding harsh chemicals
- Keeping skin dry
- Using special creams or ointments
- Avoiding personal care products with dyes or perfumes
Using mild soaps and creams or ointments after showering is important for helping the skin to retain moisture. Look for products labeled as “hypoallergenic”. Ask Dr. Ziegner for recommendations if you’re unsure of what products to use for your skin and laundry.
Medications can help to manage itching, swelling and redness, and may include topical ointments, tablets or even shots.
You may be a candidate for non-steroidal topical medications called immunomodulators. These are often reserved for moderate eczema that does not respond to other treatments. These medications include tacrolimus (PROTOPIC®), pimecrolimus (ELIDEL®) and crisaborole (EUCRISA®), which change the way the body’s immune system responds to allergens, easing symptoms. Oral treatments may include other medications such as antihistamines for itch relief.
A newly approved injectable medication is dupilumab (DUPIXENT®), an antibody against the interleukins 4 and 13, known to be major players in the allergic cascade. Dr. Ziegner will evaluate your eczema to determine which personalized treatment will work best to treat your eczema and prevent flare-ups.
With some know-how and extra care, you can prevent flare-ups and manage your eczema. To learn more, call our Redondo Beach office and speak with one of our team members to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ziegner, or request your consultation online. You can also send a message to Dr. Ziegner and the team here on the website.