Eczema is a chronic skin condition that presents in a variety of forms and varying levels of frequency. Also referred to as atopic dermatitis or simply dermatitis, eczema can also resemble a number of other skin conditions or temporary irritations. As such, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis from a dermatologist if you have been suffering from a prolonged or frequently recurring skin problem. At Advanced Dermatology, we treat a number of patients from NY and NJ who suffer from eczema. Our collective experience in observing and treating this skin disorder has led us to develop effective strategies for managing eczema. While there is no cure for eczema, there are a number of treatments that can alleviate the symptoms of the disorder. In addition, we may be able to help you identify preventative measures so that you suffer less frequently from episodes of eczema.
Eczema causes itching, which can be quite severe in some cases, causing many patients to be unable to control their compulsion to scratch at the affected skin. Scratching, in turn, will worsen the eczema, creating a vicious cycle for eczema sufferers. As such, the primary goal of eczema treatment is to control the symptoms by reducing inflammation and thus relieving itching. The following are treatments that we have found effective in controlling the symptoms of eczema in our New York and New Jersey patients:
There are a number of medications that can be prescribed to manage or suppress the symptoms of eczema. Corticosteroids are commonly used to treat eczema, as they are extremely effective at reducing inflammation and itching and may even be able to suppress eczema symptoms altogether. In order to avoid the risk of side effects, our skin doctor will always prescribe the weakest strength steroid that will effectively control the problem. In more severe cases or when weaker steroids are ineffective, a higher potency steroid may be prescribed. Corticosteroids may be applied topically or taken internally in pill form. Doctors have also found success with topical immunosuppressants. These creams work to suppress the immune system so it does not create an inflammatory response in the skin, which results in itching and swelling. This type of medication must be prescribed judiciously and requires close monitoring of the patient by their dermatologist. To control itching, our skin doctor may also recommend anti-itch drugs such as antihistamines.
Moisturizers and Bathing
Eczema can be worsened by dryness of the skin, especially during the winter months. Routine moisturizing with emollient ointments is one of the most important measures that patients can take to improve their condition. Generally, it is important to use thicker ointments to moisturize the affected skin, as light emollients may have no effect on the condition. There are also a number of common ingredients in shampoos, soaps, and even moisturizing lotions that may cause further irritation. Our dermatologist will help you understand which products may aggravate your condition, and which ones can provide effective relief. Our skin doctor will also help you understand how often you should be bathing, as some people benefit from routine baths and others find that it exacerbates their condition. When bathing, most doctors recommend that you apply moisturizers within 3 minutes of drying off to trap moisture in the skin.
There are a number of other approaches that may help control the symptoms of eczema, including alternative therapies, lifestyle changes, diet, vitamins, and light therapy. After meeting with you and reviewing your skin and medical history, our doctors may recommend that you supplement your treatment with one of these approaches.
If you suffer from eczema, please make an appointment at one of our offices today. We have locations throughout Manhattan, New York, and New Jersey. Our experienced team of skin doctors will help you find an approach to successfully manage chronic eczema.