Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is one of the diagnoses you get when you have red spots on your skin that become inflamed and itchy. A top dermatologist in Manhattan recognizes the symptoms right away and recommends the best treatment for eczema based on your current health and medical history.
Children are prime candidates for eczema, but it can appear at any age. It's a chronic condition that has no cure yet, but often is accompanied by hay fever and asthma. While it can't be cured, the best eczema treatment helps to prevent additional outbreaks of the uncomfortable skin condition and reduces the severity of each outbreak.
Symptoms of eczema often mimic other skin diseases such as psoriasis and allergic reactions. You can recognize eczema by its brownish gray or reddish patches of skin. This skin condition is especially prone to affect the ankles, feet, wrists, hands, upper chest, neck, and eyelids. You'll find it on the inside of your knees or elbows. On babies, it often appears on the head and face.
The most common symptoms associated with the skin condition that calls for specific eczema treatments include:
- Severe itching
- Thick, scaly, cracked skin
- Exceptionally dry skin
- Skin that becomes swollen, sensitive and raw from scratching
- Bumps that are raised and sometimes leak and crust over
When to See the Doctor
You should get a definitive diagnosis before beginning any treatment for eczema. Even though you can expect to have occasional flare-ups no matter how well you manage your symptoms, there are times when you shouldn't hesitate to call your Manhattan dermatologist:
- You need immediate attention if you see a red streak spread from an infected site.
- When you see pus, bleeding or yellow scabs form during an outbreak, call for an appointment.
- Ask for help when a natural eczema treatment that you're trying at home doesn't seem to be working.
- If you feel so uncomfortable that you can't work, sleep or enjoy your regular activities, call your doctor.
- If your symptoms continue to worsen after you've tried a range of home remedies with no effective relief, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist .
- Bring a child to the emergency room or directly to your doctor's office if an eczema outbreak is accompanied by a fever or if the rash appears to be infected.
Natural Eczema Treatment
Very often, the best eczema treatment is a natural eczema treatment that you can learn from your Manhattan dermatologist. Once you're sure that you have atopic dermatitis, your doctor may recommend a self-management regimen to ease your suffering. This treatment for eczema may include:
- Easing your stress. Stress is often a trigger for eczema outbreaks. Learning techniques such as meditation and relaxation can result in fewer and less severe attacks.
- Moisturizing often. Though greasier, ointments usually are less painful to use. Once you find a lotion, cream or oil that soothes your skin and doesn't irritate it more, use it at least twice a day to reduce the itching.
- Using bandages. Covering the red spots eliminates the chances that you'll open wounds and sores on your skin from scratching.
- Finding mild soaps. Clean your skin with mild soaps. Look for all-natural soaps that don't have perfume or dyes in them. Use non-alkaline and super-fatted soap; Just be sure to rinse completely.
- Running a humidifier. Dry air causes dry skin, which increases the chances of eczema outbreaks. Itching and flaking worsen in dry air too.
- Taking a bath. Sprinkle oatmeal or baking soda in warm water and soak for 15 minutes to soothe your skin. Colloidal oatmeal, such as brands like Aveeno, is made specifically for baths.
- Getting anti–itching cream. Your dermatologist can tell you which brands of over-the-counter creams work best to stave off itching. The most effective have a one-percent concentration of hydrocortisone.
- Wearing soft clothing. Smooth, satiny apparel items help relieve irritation. Wear clothes that are seasonally appropriate to prevent sweating too.
Your Doctor Provides the Best Treatment for Eczema
The skin condition may be persistent and incurable, but the sooner and more often you talk to your dermatologist, the better chance you have of finding longer lasting relief and fewer outbreaks. And after you've tried all the natural eczema treatments that you can, your doctor can help if you still can't get the symptoms under control.
Some of the more common medical approaches to eczema treatments include:
- Steroidal topical. Corticosteroid creams and ointments can reduce the symptoms of an eczema outbreak, but they also have side effects from long-term use, such as thinning skin.
- Antibiotic cream. Your Manhattan dermatologist can prescribe antibiotic cream to fight bacterial infections that sometimes occur. When you develop open cracks or sores from an outbreak, try an antibiotic cream.
- Light therapy. When topical eczema treatments don't work, you may find relief from phototherapy, that relies on exposing the skin to short bursts of ultraviolet light.
- Prescription medication. Inflammation controlling oral drugs such as prednisone can help when you have severe outbreaks. There are serious side effects from long-term usage, though.
- Wet wraps. In the hospital, you may receive treatment for eczema with strong corticosteroid creams that then get wrapped in wet bandages, especially if you have lesions that have become widespread. This technique also can be used at home with your doctor's instructions.
Best Eczema Treatment for Babies
As a parent, you want to keep your baby as comfortable as possible, which can sometimes be difficult with eczema. Your pediatrician may even refer you to the best dermatologist in New York to find the best treatment for eczema to help your child.
Tips for making your baby feel better include:
- Keep your baby's skin lubricated with oil, lotion and cream.
- Use fragrance free products.
- Use oils plentifully in your baby's bath water.
- Avoid temperature extremes, especially hot rooms that cause sweating.
- Stop using any product or piece of clothing that leads to outbreaks.
- Rely on your doctor for prescription creams or medications to help your baby sleep when scratching keeps her up all night or results in open wounds.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.