Eczema is a complex condition that can cause a great deal of emotional and physical discomfort. While there’s no cure for the condition, there are treatments out there that can keep eczema under control.
Chronic dermatitis, or eczema, is a skin condition characterized by red, swollen, or blistery areas of irritation in one or more places on the body. Chronic dermatitis can last a lifetime and often first shows up in childhood. There are varying degrees of eczema, but the most extreme forms of the condition can certainly interfere with your life. Eczema can be unsightly, and since it often appears in children first, it can lead to a lot of social anxiety. Many people with eczema, adults and children alike, suffer from self-esteem issues as a result of the condition. Besides its appearance, eczema can be incredibly irritating. Your skin may feel itchy, dry, and even crusty. Itching can get extreme, and scratching only increases the likelihood of infections and other more serious issues. The causes of eczema are somewhat debated, and there are many different theories for what causes eczema. The prevailing theory is that the immune system plays a key role in causing eczema. When exposed to irritants or allergens, the skin should form a histamine response. This helps to protect the skin barrier from harm, but in many people with eczema, it goes much too far. The immune response in people with eczema causes inflammation and the sometimes crusty appearance eczema takes on. When the skin works to protect and repair itself, it overcompensates and produces far more skin cells than it should. Eczema can be very hard on a person, and its impact can be more than skin deep.
Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments for eczema that dermatologists have at their disposal. One of the first lines of defense against eczema is corticosteroids. These topical creams can help to prevent itching and help to repair the skin. Corticosteroids are available over the counter, but more potent, effective versions of the drug need to be prescribed. Seeing a dermatologist can help make sure you’re getting the most from your eczema treatment. Light therapy is another promising eczema treatment. The skin is exposed to controlled ultraviolet (UV) light. UVB light can help reduce even severe eczema that’s unresponsive to medication. Phototherapy seems to suppress the immune system response that causes eczema, meaning inflammation should reduce after repeated sessions. It may take one or two months of treatment before phototherapy produces a noticeable reduction in flare ups, however. There are a variety of other ways eczema can be treated, but you may be looking for a more permanent solution.
The short answer to whether there’s a cure for eczema is: no. There is no way to cure eczema. The condition generally lasts a lifetime, with flare ups and periods of dormancy. While treatments can be very helpful, another useful method of eczema prevention is changing your lifestyle. You should make a daily moisturizer part of your routine. Use an ointment over a lotion, as ointments are thicker and better at retaining moisture. Use mild soaps and fragrance free products to avoid furthering irritation on the skin. Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics like polyester and instead opt for cotton and wool clothing. Try to shower or bathe in lukewarm water rather than hot water, as it dries the skin more quickly. These lifestyle adjustments, in addition to treatment with a dermatologist, can help keep eczema’s worst symptoms under control and give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Eczema is not curable, but it can be controlled and treated with your dermatologist’s help. Interested in learning more about how eczema is treated? Give the experts at Pacific Dermatology Specialists a call today.