According to the National Eczema Association, more than 31 million Americans suffer from eczema. If you’re wondering whether your scaly, itchy skin is actually eczema, and if so, how to protect yourself from flare-ups this winter and beyond, contact Dr. Jeffrey A. Klein and his caring team at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California.
Is it eczema?
Many conditions, such as psoriasis, can mimic eczema. It’s best to get a professional check-up to determine the cause. There are actually seven types of eczema:
- Nummular eczema: Itchy, round spots caused by an allergic reaction to a bug bite or other irritant
- Dyshidrotic eczema: Fluid-filled blisters from stress, allergies or other issues
- Contact dermatitis: A substance you touch causes a reaction
- Atopic dermatitis: The most common type, usually starts in childhood
- Neurodermatitis: Itchy, scaly patches appear while you’re resting or asleep
- Stasis dermatitis: Fluid escapes from your veins due to poor blood flow in your legs
- Hand eczema: Caused by a chemical irritation to your hands, usually seen in occupations such as hairdresser or nurse
Our practitioners diagnose your skin condition to get it under control.
Recognize the signs
If you wonder whether that pesky skin condition may be eczema, learn some of the signs. These include skin that looks and feels:
- Excessively dry, especially in winter
Most eczema sufferers experience moderate-to-intense itching. Although it’s difficult, try to avoid scratching the area directly. This only makes matters worse. Dr. Klein provides methods, such as creams or medication, to ease your itch.
Tips for curtailing that winter itch
Dr. Klein and Dr. Kassardjian suggest certain tips to keep your winter eczema under control.
Avoid hot showers and baths
This will dry out your skin even more. Use warm water instead.
Add moisture to your skin
We can suggest creams with hydrocortisone or something stronger for particularly difficult cases.
Skip harsh soaps
Use fragrance, dye, and alcohol-free soaps and laundry detergent; they’re gentler on your skin.
Moisten the air with a humidifier
Indoor heating dries out your skin. Add moisture to the air with a humidifier.
Get help for other skin infections
Bacterial or yeast infections can inflame your eczema. We help you keep other skin conditions in check with antibiotics or antifungals.
Dr. Klein also uses ultraviolet light therapy and other treatments to ease the severity of your flare-ups.
What triggers eczema flare-ups?
While no one understands exactly what causes eczema, we do know some of its triggers.
Stress, diet and irritants represent three of the most likely culprits. Consider avoiding:
- Wool and polyester fabrics
- Antibacterial ointments, such as neomycin and bacitracin
- Household cleaners that contain formaldehyde
- Shampoos that contain cocamidopropyl betaine
Also try to avoid excessive stress, which may trigger a flare-up. Foods, such as soy, wheat, peanuts, and eggs may exacerbate your eczema, as well. While there’s no cure, our team can discuss your day-to-day eating and bathing habits and offer helpful suggestions and treatments to lessen outbreaks.
Curb your winter eczema by spring
Dermatologists recognize over 3,000 skin conditions. If you’re unsure whether your itchy, irritated skin is eczema or another condition, schedule a check-up at 949-248-1632, or book an appointment online with one of our knowledgeable providers today.