Sometimes called “the itch that rashes,” eczema is a relatively common skin condition that’s characterized by dry, itchy skin that may look red and scaly. For many people, the condition worsens in the colder months, when environmental humidity drops – meaning that a cozy night in front of the fire can quickly become itchy and uncomfortable. Eczema treatment at our Atlanta, Georgia dermatology practice is often achieved through a mix of prescribed medications and lifestyle adjustments. Our board-certified dermatologists can help you be comfortable in your skin again with an effective treatment plan.
To learn how you may benefit from eczema treatment, request a consultation online with Peachtree Dermatology Associates. Or give us a call at (404) 355-1919 to schedule your appointment.
What Is Eczema?
Rather than a singular condition with one known cause, eczema is a blanket term used for many kinds of itchy rashes. Eczema can be acute or chronic and may limit itself to one part of the body or it may spread. Because the symptoms of eczema – such as dry skin, rough patches, swelling, and oozing – can be quite general, it’s important to get a diagnosis from a board-certified dermatologist, such as one of the professionals at Peachtree Dermatology Associates. Eczema may have different causes, including:
- Temperature fluctuations: Eczema is typically worse in the wintertime and in arid climates. Some patients also notice an increase in symptoms in hot weather or after exercising.
- Stress: Although the connection between stress and eczema isn’t well understood, some people say they notice a worsening of symptoms during periods of high stress.
- Chemical irritants: We use chemicals every day when bathing, cleaning, cooking, and working. While most everyday chemicals aren’t harmful, some can trigger eczema in sensitive individuals. Common irritants include fragrances and dyes found in soaps or detergents, cosmetics, and even some foods.
- Allergies: The same allergens that cause respiratory symptoms in some can case atopic eczema in others. Common allergens include pollen, mold, dust, and pets.
Although eczema on its own is not dangerous, it can be very uncomfortable. Sometimes, eczema’s itch can be so intense that it causes patients to scratch until the point of bleeding, leading to potential infection and worsening symptoms. This cycle cannot be broken without effective treatment.
Although there is no cure for eczema, many patients find relief through a simple 3-step treatment plan. At Peachtree Dermatology Associates, we customize each step for our patients. In general, eczema treatment involves:
- Maintaining skin’s moisture: Many topical products intended to maintain skin’s moisture balance are available over-the-counter or by prescription. For many patients, this first step includes a mild non-soap cleanser and a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer.
- Reducing inflammation: Our physicians often prescribe topical corticosteroids or antihistamines to reduce itching and calm inflammation.
- Avoiding triggers: You and your doctor will discuss the specific factors which trigger your eczema and work together to develop ways to avoid them. These lifestyle adjustments may include:
- Switching from hot to tepid showers
- Regularly grooming pets to reduce dander
- Avoiding clothing and bedding made of itchy or synthetic fabrics
- Switching to laundry detergent and personal care products formulated for sensitive skin