When the signs of eczema keep you from reaching for makeup or long sleeves, it’s time to end the dry, itchy skin. At Lower Highlands Dermatology, dermatologist Catherine Carretero, MD and nurse practitioner Maggie Catalano help patients in the Denver area reduce, and sometimes even eliminate, the signs of eczema, and they can help you, too. To learn more about your options or to schedule your initial consultation, call Lower Highlands Dermatology today or use the online booking tool.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
Eczema, a form of dermatitis, results in dry, itchy skin that often forms on the face, inner arms, behind the knees, hands, and feet. It can cause your skin to turn red and swell.
Additionally, you may develop red or brown patches of skin or small, raised bumps that may leak fluid or form a crust when scratched.
Sometimes, your skin may look thick or cracked; other times, it might appear scaly or raw. These symptoms may come and go, or they can become chronic.
What causes eczema?
Although the underlying cause of eczema is unknown, most experts agree that it involves a combination of genetics and environmental triggers. An overactive immune system responds to an allergen, causing inflammation and the itchy, painful symptoms associated with eczema.
Modern research shows that many people with eczema have a mutation in the gene that creates filaggrin, a protein responsible for creating the protective barrier on your skin. Without the proper amount of filaggrin, your skin loses moisture and becomes vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, and other environmental toxins.
Bouts of eczema frequently correlate with triggers that can cause flare-ups. The most common triggers include:
- Dry skin
- Irritants in soap, detergents, shampoos, and cleansers
- Exposure to metals
- Cigarette smoke
- Certain fabrics like wool and polyester
- Emotional stress
How is eczema treated?
If you want to reduce the frequency and severity of your eczema flare-ups, it’s essential to find the right combination of medical treatment and at-home monitoring.
Proper eczema treatment begins at home. To protect your skin, Dr. Carretero and Maggie recommend reducing the itch associated with eczema by using a moisturizing lotion or a topical steroid.
You should also do everything possible to stop scratching, which can lead to lacerations and open wounds. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can reduce the urge to scratch, as can using a moisturizing ointment a few times a day.
If these at-home measures don’t improve your eczema, your dermatologist may recommend other topical ointments, oral medications, injections, or light energy treatments to improve your condition.
If eczema makes your skin itch, find a solution at Lower Highlands Dermatology: Call the office today or book your initial consultation online.