The skin is the body’s largest organ, yet so many people apply a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to caring for theirs. When the weather changes, so does your skin. As we transition into the cooler months of fall and winter, the shift can be hard on your skin. This is true even more so for those with eczema, a skin condition exacerbated by dry, cold weather.
Whether you suffer from eczema yourself or are looking out for a loved one, understanding how to cope with what is officially known as atopic dermatitis is valuable. Here are the top 5 things you need to know about living with eczema.
1. Eczema typically, but not always begins in childhood
While the skin condition typically presents around age five, eczema can occur at any age, and any severity — even if a previous flare-up was years prior. Some people can go for significant periods of time without any eczema episodes, while others find triggers like dry weather to factor into their flare-ups.
Everyone presents their eczema differently, but there are signs and symptoms that are traditionally associated with the condition:
- Dry skin
- Red patches
- Small, raised bumps
- Cracked or scaly skin
- Raw, sensitive, or swollen skin
2. Eczema can show up anywhere
Eczema is related to the skin’s ability to provide protection from environmental factors. The gene variation that causes the condition prevents this protection, leading to flare-ups all over the body.
The skin condition doesn’t discriminate when it comes to where it presents, but there are a few favorite areas to pay attention to. Eczema can show up most frequently on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp.
3. There is no cure for eczema
Although there are ways to assuage the symptoms that come with eczema, there is no cure. The skin affected by the flare-up will likely be itchy, and it’s important to refrain as much as possible to ensure proper healing. Minimizing drying effects of the condition is a great way to help:
- Moisturize multiple times per day
- Take shorter, cooler showers
- Reduce exposure to any known triggers (such as soaps and detergents)
- Use products specifically for sensitive skin
4. For more severe cases of eczema, there are prescriptions available
When shifting your routine isn’t enough, there are other ways to treat eczema flare-ups including topical creams to fight infection, oral drugs — like steroids— to address severe forms of inflammation, and even injections that can address symptoms for those who don’t respond to the other treatments.
5. Eczema is manageable
31.6 million people are living with some form of eczema in the United States. The skin condition is incredibly common. The most prevalent symptoms associated with eczema are itchiness, irritation, and dry skin — all of which are manageable.
There’s nothing to be ashamed about. No matter what the case is, Boise Dermatology is here for you. If you or a loved one is looking for more information, a diagnosis, or treatment we’re ready to help. Give us a call: (208) 888-0660.