Eczema Treatment and Causes: The Sufferer’s Guide
Marie Claire enjoys the support of its audience. When you make purchases through links on our site, we may earn commissions on certain items you select.
From one sufferer to the next, consider your need for this irritating skin condition, what causes flare-ups and how it can be managed.
According to Allergy UKThere are at least 15 million people living with eczema in the UK alone. But despite its prevalence, many of us are still not really sure of the best eczema treatment or its causes.
Eczema varies from person to person – the best eczema cream that soothes one person’s very sore skin may be completely different to what works for another. So to examine it thoroughly, we asked some of the country’s top dermatologists, dermatologists, and people suffering from the condition to shed some light.
What is eczema?
Also known as ‘dermatitis,’ eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can make your skin red, dry and itchy,’ says Dr. Walayat Hussain Dr. Bupa Health Clinic’s Dr. ‘There are many different types of eczema, and the type you have determines which treatment options are best for you.’
People with eczema have a genetic predisposition to it. ,But that doesn’t mean it will come out,’ says Dr. Amelie SegersoBy Dr. Mariam Zamani, Consultant Dermatologist at Clinique and author Eczema: how to relieve itching (£11.86 | Amazon), ‘You need other factors to be present in your life at that point in time, to bring it out and provoke it.’
Eczema is not something that can be cured, but it can be controlled with the right cream and treatment plan. ,I think it’s important for a lot of people to understand that,’ Dr. Segers says. ‘It doesn’t mean that your quality of life will be affected. For almost all patients with eczema, you can lead a completely normal life in almost all cases. Some patients actually have very severe eczema, and it can be difficult, but it is often because they are not treated properly.’
If you’re experiencing uncomfortable hot and cracked skin that then becomes dry and itchy, there’s a good chance it’s eczema, but your doctor will be able to confirm the diagnosis. It can appear pretty much anywhere on the body; It is possible to have eczema on the hands, feet, legs, arms, torso and eczema on the face.
Although eczema is very common in infants, many people will also experience symptoms throughout adulthood.
Is eczema contagious?
The biggest misconception about eczema is that it is contagious – but it absolutely isn’t. It is only when the eczema becomes infected, and is open and weeping, that infection Can itself be contagious, Dr. Hussain explains.
treatment of eczema
There are many different options for managing eczema, and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment plan. Your doctor may prescribe a topical steroid cream, such as hydrocortisone, which can stop the inflammation.
Dr. Segers says the key to controlling your eczema is maintenance treatment, which is your daily routine. Gentle skin care routine. Of course, treatment plans exist if you have a flare-up, but it’s day-to-day skin care that will keep your skin as strong as possible.
‘People who have a tendency to eczema tend to lose water,’ she says. ‘ Which means the skin is dry. You also have a compromised skin barrier, which allows things like allergens, pollutants, irritants to pass through, which further irritates it.’ That’s why making sure your skin stays as moisturized and hydrated as possible at all times is absolutely vital. ‘Because then you actually improve your skin’s barrier, you make it stronger, and you’ll lose less water and put it in better shape.’
Dr. Beibe Doo-Harper, one dermatologist, says it’s also based on the individual. ‘Treatment for eczema should be tailored based on the severity of the condition, its impact on the patient and also the type of treatment they wish to use. For mild to moderate cases of eczema, regular use of a moisturizer is essential, and the addition of a prescription cream to treat flares is often helpful in managing things when creams alone haven’t worked. But in more severe cases, where eczema is widespread or affects day-to-day life, there are medications that can be taken orally or injected that reduce over-active immunity and inflammation within the skin. has been shown to. This type of treatment can be life-changing for people who suffer from extremely severe eczema.’
Alice Lubatieres, a content creator who documents her eczema journey on social media, is one such person. ‘For many years I went through a cycle of treating my eczema with various topical steroids, which would clear up my rashes fairly quickly, but as soon as I stopped using them, they came back with a vengeance,’ she says. Will come. ‘I decided to stop using topical steroids in October 2020, as I was tired of this cycle and wanted a more long term solution. Earlier this year my dermatologist put me forward to start biologics (strength medicine that slows or stops inflammation) because I was really struggling with my skin and scalp, which caused a lot of The hair was falling out and we were worried that my hair might not grow back. However, this drug does not come without its side effects and will require frequent monitoring and hospital visits. However, I was so desperate that I welcomed the idea that it might finally help me lead a normal life again.’
She adds that this type of treatment plan is incredibly expensive and that if you are following through with the NHS, they will explore all other options first.
knowing your triggers
Knowing what may be causing your eczema flare-ups will be incredibly helpful in taking care of your skin.
Triggers can be anything and they vary from person to person. Dr Segers says, ‘It may be that your flare-ups are due to being vaccinated. ‘So before doing one you increase the amount of moisturizing. It may not stop it completely, but it can give you a much softer response. I have seen some patients flare up after insect bites. It is itchy, so you give it a scratch and it will actually flare up the eczema.’
It’s common to have flare-ups if you’re unwell, for example, if you’ve had a bad flu, she says, because people with eczema have an over-reactive immune system. So when you’re sick, your eczema can flare up. She recommends applying more moisturizer when you start to feel worse. ‘It’s about being prepared,’ she says.
Other common triggers in children are teething and saliva, and in adults are dust, frequent washing and friction.
One of the biggest triggers that affects many people is stress. ‘Stress is by far my biggest trigger,’ says Lubatieres. ‘I have this kind of physical reaction, which is usually uncontrollable itching unless I damage my skin, most of the time unintentionally.’
Are eczema and diet linked?
Many sufferers of medical skin conditions see a reduction in symptoms by carefully monitoring their diet, with dairy and acne being a prime example. So what’s the deal with diet and eczema? ‘Although a change in your diet may not cure your eczema, in some cases it can help ease symptoms and reduce flare-ups,’ says Dr. Hussain.
‘Some cases of eczema are caused by an allergic reaction; The most common sources of food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, soy, wheat, gluten, and citrus, so you may find it helpful to try cutting out some of those foods to see if they help. Helps with your symptoms.
‘Otherwise, a simple prick test can help identify what you’re allergic to, so you can avoid those foods. However it is important that you discuss potential food allergies with your GP, dermatologist or allergist to ensure that you get the best advice that is relevant to you and is best for your skin.’
Dr. Segers would like to highlight that attempting to link eczema and diet is difficult. ‘TeaDetecting a new food allergy at age 30 is very unlikely, but what I say is that when you have an inflammatory condition, you shouldn’t be on an inflammatory diet with lots of processed foods etc. Wanna, as it is, are going to make matters worse. You put your body in an inflammatory state, which lowers the threshold of a flare. So in a way, I think diet plays a role, but I’m not sure that one type of food is causing you flare-ups on its own.’
He is concerned that many people try to harden in the hopes that cutting out certain foods will result in a sudden improvement in eczema. She says, ‘It’s not that easy. ‘It sometimes works for little kids and little kids. For example, if you’re diagnosed with an intolerance or allergy to dairy early in your childhood, you can pull out the related stuff and see an improvement. But it is not as common for adults.’
If you have an eczema-like rash around your mouth, nose, and eyes, it could actually be perioral dermatitis, which requires different treatment options. ‘Periorificial dermatitis is a common skin problem of the face that is characterized by clusters of itchy or tender small red papules,’ explains Dr. Anjali MahtoConsultant Dermatologist and Author skincare bible,
‘It is given this name because papules occur around the eyes, nose, mouth and sometimes the genitals. The more restrictive term, perioral dermatitis, is often used when the eruption is confined to the skin in the lower part of the face, especially around the mouth. Periocular dermatitis can be used to describe a rash affecting the eyelids.’
Your doctor or dermatologist will be able to confirm the diagnosis, so it is important that you make an appointment to confirm.
What causes perioral dermatitis?
“The exact cause of periperipheral dermatitis is not fully understood, but research has shown that it may be related to epidermal barrier dysfunction, activation of the innate immune system, altered dermal microflora, or follicular fusiform bacteria,” says Anjali.
Here’s the good news: ‘While it can take several weeks for noticeable improvement to occur, perioperative dermatitis responds well to treatment,’ explains Dr. Mahto. ‘The best way to treat perioperative dermatitis is to stop using all face creams, including topical steroids, cosmetics and sunscreens.
‘Also, consider a slow withdrawal from topical/steroid/facial creams if a severe flare has occurred after discontinuing steroids. I would recommend replacing it with a less potent or less obstructive cream, or applying it less frequently until it’s needed. If rashes are present, wash your face with lukewarm water only. When the rash is gone, use only a non-soap or liquid cleanser.’