Skin plays an essential and vital role when it comes to our well-being, but it comes as no surprise that our skin is inevitably exposed to a variety of internal and external factors as it works hard to protect us. Skin conditions that affect the external appearance of this organ can show up at many stages of life, but one of the most common conditions noticed during early childhood is eczema. Also referred to as dermatitis, eczema is frequently a skin condition that develops during youth but can also develop well into adulthood.
For the majority of individuals suffering from eczema, the condition begins showing up on the hands, feet, face, elbows or behind the knees and presents as a rash that’s almost always dry and itchy. This often proves challenging as a skin condition common amongst children as itching and scratching these dry patches causes further irritation, swelling, and noticeable redness. For this reason and many more, it’s important that signs and symptoms of eczema be noticed early on in order to get a head start on the eczema treatment.
Eczema is commonly referred to under its umbrella title, however, it can present in a variety of forms which are distinct and unique. While the exact cause for eczema is still being researched and reviewed, it is generally agreed that eczema is not a contagious condition and is most likely caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. This chronic condition has been closely linked to the development of hay fever and asthma in the long term, particularly for patients who develop this skin condition in early childhood.
In the modern world of dermatology, at least 11 types of skin conditions have been recognized that lead to the development of eczema including atopic, irritant, allergic contact, and stasis, just to name a few. When observing the skin for basic signs of eczema, the primary indicators include dry, sensitive, red and inflamed patches of skin. For some individuals, these patches may be crusted over or leak a certain amount of puss or liquid.
Atopic dermatitis is recognized as the most common form of eczema and is closely linked to a predetermined genetic disposition. This type of eczema often includes a collection of rashes on the ankles, neck, cheeks, behind the knees or on the inside of the elbows. Atopic dermatitis is common in children.
Irritant dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis are both thought to be the result of repeated exposure to a particular substance that reacts negatively with the skin. Irritant dermatitis is linked to toxic substances while allergic contact dermatitis is classified as an allergic reaction. Stasis dermatitis is a common form of eczema among patients with poor blood circulation in the legs and often appears as swollen areas in the lower extremities.
Lichen simplex chronicus and nummular eczema are easily identified on patients as thick, scaly patches that tend to concentrate around the neck, shins and lower legs particularly on older patients. Xerotic eczema is a condition that dries skin out to the point of cracking and oozing and tends to be found behind the ears or on the mid-chest, face, and scalp of both adults and infants alike.
The first recommended step in treating many forms of eczema is generally a topical treatment such as a skin cream that can be regularly applied to the affected areas. A step up from this might be an oral medication that works to reduce the symptoms associated with more severe cases of eczema.
When topical creams and oral medications fail to provide successful results, patients are often directed to cosmetic treatments and services that might include light therapy. This type of treatment allows a licensed physician to treat a problematic area of the skin used precision UVB light waves in an office setting. This treatment tends to increase natural Vitamin D production and reduce overall itchiness and inflammation. Additionally, light treatment is known to help the skin fight off bacteria that may be leading to conditions of aggravated eczema.
It’s important for patients suffering from eczema to understand that preventative measures can always be taken to avoid flare-ups. These include avoiding any known foods or animals that provoke allergies as well as avoiding strong lotions, soaps, and fabrics that tend to irritate the skin.
When you’re considering your many options to treat eczema, Dr. Wright and his team at the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center are here for you. Contact our offices today to learn more about the full range of treatment options and services we provide. When you’re ready to make a change, begin your journey by scheduling an initial consultation and get your questions answered before enjoying a comprehensive and customized treatment plan that keeps your comfort, health and safety top of mind at all times. We can’t wait to hear from you soon!