What is Eczema?
Eczema refers to a broad spectrum of diseases, where skin is affected by chronic inflammation. It is usually symptomized by patches of skin that are inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. The most common form of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. Frequently seen in children (before the age of 5), it may persist up to adolescence and adulthood. It can also occur much later in adults as well.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) can affect any area of the body. The term "atopic" refers to an allergy, and majority of the time, people with eczema often suffer allergies or asthma along with itchy, red skin.
The most common symptoms in atopic dermatitis are;
- Rashes in the creases of the elbows or knees
- Skin in areas where rash may appear lighter or darker, or it can get thicker.
- Small bumps may develop and there will be fluid leaking on scratching them.
- For babies, the rash might often appear on the scalp or cheeks.
- Infections may occur if scratched until it bleeds.
This type of eczema happens when your skin's natural barrier against the elements is weakened, hence causing your skin to be prone to irritants and allergens. Other factors such as genes, dry skin, an immune system problem or external environment such as swimming, active sports and hot weather can further aggravate eczema, which may cause it to bleed or lead to infections when it’s scratched constantly, causing disfigurement of the skin. Eczema sufferers often need to make significant lifestyle changes because of their condition.
Other types of eczema conditions include contact dermatitis (allergic reactions) or dyshidrosis (blisters on hands and feet). This condition is caused by coming in contact with certain substances (for eg, detergents, latex, nickel, paint, poison ivy, skin care products, perfumes, tobacco smoke etc.) that can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
The symptoms for contact dermatitis are;
- The skin itches, turns red, burns, and stings.
- Itchy bumps called hives may develop on the skin.
- Fluid-filled blisters can form that may ooze and crust over.
- The skin may thicken and feel scaly or leathery overtime.
Types of Treatments for Eczema
The treatments for eczema and psoriasis are similar. Some of the common treatments include:
- Over-the-counter relief: Many of these products are aimed to help relieve symptoms or prevent infection.
- Topicals: These are medications your doctor prescribes for you to apply on the affected skin.
2) Non-Invasive Treatment (Energy Devices)
- Phototherapy: Also known as light therapy, phototherapy uses a machine to create Ultraviolet B(UVB) light. Phototherapy is safe — you will only be exposed to a healthy, controlled amount of UVB light, and the procedure is performed under medical supervision. This can reduce itching and inflammation, and boost bacteria-fighting ability of the skin.
- Ultrasound Therapy: This treatment uses dual-frequency ultrasound waves and is able to modulate dynamic processes of production and destruction within tissue which is of primary importance in different aesthetical applications or dermatological diseases. Using the physical energy to balance the homeostasis of the skin and subcutaneous tissue.
- Oral Medication
- Oral Steriods
- Oral Immunosuppressive Drugs : These medications is used to control your immune system response and reduce inflammation. It’s often prescribed to you if your condition is severe.
- Injectables Biologics: These medications target the protein that makes you have the inflammation response.
You need to discuss each of these treatment options with your doctor and carefully monitor and titrate to minimize the use, as we want to avoid over-suppressing your immune system. My approach is slightly different, I want to strengthen the weak epidermis and make the dermis healthier and less inflamed. I use a combination of multiple energy based devices together with skin nutrients and skin supplements. Every patient is different, there is no one size fits all treatment. We will have to carefully monitor and change the settings and the frequency and use different energy devices and adjust accordingly to your skin.
Other Ways to Reduce Eczema Outbreaks
Here are a few ways to prevent eczema flare-ups and manage the symptoms:
- Avoid foods that may trigger or worsen the symptoms.
- Apply cool compresses to your skin or baking soda bath to relieve the itch.
- Keep the skin hydrated by applying gentle eczema-friendly lotions and moisturizers.
- Apply the cream right after you get out of the shower or bath to seal in moisture.
- After you bathe, gently blot your skin with a soft towel. Do not rub your skin hard.
- Avoid scratching as it may cause an infection.
- Use fragrance-free detergents, cleansers, makeup, and other skin care products.
- Wear gloves and protective clothing whenever you handle chemicals.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes made from soft fibers, like cotton.
- Lifestyle changes includes ; Have plenty of rest, relax and meditate to reduce daily stress