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Eczema Treatment in the Florida Keys

woman scratching her hands

What is the main cause of eczema flare-ups?

Atopic dermatitis, which is more commonly referred to as eczema, is a very common skin problem that affects millions of people all over the world. Eczema affects men, women, adults, and children, but is not contagious. Unfortunately, the cause of eczema is not completely understood. What doctors do understand is that eczema may run in families and appears to be influenced by one or more of the following:

  • Sensitive skin
  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Defects in skin barrier
  • Immune system abnormalities

What does eczema look like?

Eczema rash appearances can vary from person to person, depending on the skin type and the severity of your eczema. For those with mild eczema, the skin may appear dry, flaky, crusty, whitened, or patchy. Those with more severe forms of eczema might notice redness, large rashes, toughness, bumps, cracking, or oozing. Eczema is usually noticed in one of the following areas of the body, but may also appear on other parts of the skin:

  • Face (facial eczema)
  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Chest
  • Parts of the body that bend or fold:
    Armpits
    Knees
    Wrists
    Eyelids
    Elbows

What are the symptoms of eczema?

If you are suffering from either mild or severe eczema, you may notice some of the following signs of eczema on the knees, face, elbows, neck, hands, or legs – especially during an eczema flare-up:

  • Long-lasting itchiness
  • Thick patches of skin
  • Dry skin
  • Swollen or inflamed skin
  • Brown or yellow blisters
  • Pus-filled blistering
  • Skin irritation that does not respond to hydrocortisone or other over-the-counter eczema medications or skin creams

What causes eczema to flare up?

Many household items, environmental irritants, and things you do in your daily routine could contribute to your skin’s health or cause eczema to flare up. Some of the things you can avoid to help keep your eczema under control include the following:

Environmental Irritants

There are numerous environmental skin irritants that can cause your eczema to flare up or cause your skin excessive irritation. Some of the skin irritants that are often associated with eczema flare-ups include:

  • Some soaps
  • Some perfumes
  • Sand
  • Chlorinated swimming pools
  • Cigarettes
  • Dust
  • Some makeups

Health Issues

Certain health conditions can cause your eczema to flare up. If you experience one of these health issues, you might also notice your eczema has a reaction:

  • Flu
  • Common cold
  • Allergic reactions
  • Bacterial infections

Living Conditions

Those who live in particular climates may be more likely to suffer from eczema flare-ups. Some of the environmental factors to consider if you suffer from eczema include:

  • Living in an area that has low humidity (or longer winter months)
  • Living in a climate that is dry year-round

Certain Activities

What you do day-to-day can also affect the health of your skin and cause your eczema to flare up. The following habits or activities could trigger your eczema to flare up:

  • Changing temperatures suddenly
  • Working out and then going into air conditioning
  • Going from a hot shower to a cold room
  • Not applying moisturizer after a shower or bath
  • Being too hot or too cold
  • Swimming in a chlorinated pool
  • Having wet skin for too long
  • Taking showers or baths for too long
  • Taking showers or baths that are too hot

How do you calm an eczema flare-up?

You can help reduce the effects of an eczema flare-up by doing the following:

  • Know what specific factors trigger your eczema and avoid them as much as possible
  • Follow a regular shower routine that is not lengthy
  • Use lukewarm shower/bath water
  • Use moisturizer following your shower or bath
  • Consistently apply a topical cream or medication when you notice a flare-up
  • Visit your dermatologist regularly
  • Practice stress management
  • Avoid rubbing or scratching the skin, especially if it is flaring up
  • Look out for blisters, pus, or infections in the skin, and visit your dermatologist if you notice signs of these

How do you stop an eczema outbreak?

Eczema is not curable, but there are certain treatments that you can use to help reduce the symptoms of eczema. Remember, your eczema symptoms and treatment are unique and are not necessarily the same as someone else’s. It’s important to speak with a skilled dermatologist or eczema skin specialist who can help guide you during your treatment and determine what treatment will work best for you. Here are some of the available treatment options for those who are suffering from eczema outbreaks:

  • Over-the-counter skin treatments to help clear up itchiness, redness, and rashes from eczema
  • Keep your skin moisturized by moisturizing immediately after showers and whenever skin is dry
  • Use the right moisturizer for your skin type and for those with eczema
  • Take oatmeal baths to calm certain symptoms
  • Use prescription topical medications to ease redness, itchiness, rashes, or dryness
  • Undergo phototherapy performed by a dermatologist with experience treating eczema

Does scratching eczema cause it to spread?

While eczema will not spread from person to person, it can get worse if you scratch, rub, or irritate it further. Talk to your dermatologist about ways to avoid scratching your eczema–especially at night. Itchiness from eczema at night can disrupt your sleep and lead to further negative health consequences.

What happens if eczema is left untreated?

There are numerous eczema complications that can occur if you neglect to treat the condition. The most noteworthy complication is an infection, which can lead to more serious issues. Common complications of an eczema infection include:

  • Increased itching, redness, and blistering
  • Scars
  • Staph infections
  • Blood infections

Can you suddenly get eczema as an adult?

Yes. Adult-onset eczema – also known as adult-onset atopic dermatitis – is a type of eczema that shows up later in life, typically in adults over the age of 18. So, whether you have experienced eczema before or not, you could develop it as an adult.

The biggest difference between adult eczema and child eczema is that in adults, the skin may appear more leathery and dark. It might also be scaly, extremely dry, and itchy all the time. In addition, adult eczema commonly occurs around the eyes, on the face, in the creases of your knees or elbows, and on the back of your neck.

If you are experiencing symptoms of eczema, visit Pruett Dermatology. Dr. Pruett is an experienced, board-certified skin doctor and dermatologic surgeon who has been serving the Florida Keys community for over 25 years. Pruett Dermatology offers eczema treatment and cares for every individual patient with a personal touch. Visit our warm and welcoming office today or schedule an appointment by calling 305.664.8828 or fill out the form on this page.

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