Eczema is a general term used for several types of skin rashes, which share the common features of skin irritation, flaking, itching, and disruption of the skin barrier. People who live in dry climates such as Denver, Colorado are more likely to develop eczema. Some different types of eczema are listed below.
Individuals with eczema must develop a good skin care routine, avoid things that lead to flares, and treat symptoms when they occur.
Taking a lukewarm bath for 20 minutes, using a soap-free cleanser, followed by the application of an occlusive moisturizer can retain water in the skin and give relief from itching. The newer ceramide-containing moisturizers can be very helpful (e.g. Cerave cream or lotion). In Colorado, moisturizing is particularly important, and humidifiers in the winter are recommended.
Some people can improve their eczema by avoiding allergens such as certain foods (eggs, peanuts, milk, and wheat), dust mites, mold, pollen, and dog or cat dander. Eczema may also be worsened by irritants such as wool, soaps, perfumes, makeup, chlorine, dust, or cigarette smoke.
At Dermatology and Laser Institute, we offer extensive, non-invasive patch testing to help identify which substances may be triggering a person’s eczema.
Topical steroids are a first-line treatment for eczema flares and are very effective. Newer steroid-free creams help to reduce inflammation and repair the skin's barrier function. For severe eczema flares, a brief course of oral prednisone may be required. If an individual has infected eczema, an oral antibiotic may be necessary. Oral antihistamines can be useful to reduce itching and scratching.