Eczema 101 how to find relief
First things first...what exactly is eczema?
Eczema, is an inflammatory skin condition where patches of skin become dry, rough, red, and extremely itchy. It commonly appears on the face, hands, feet, scalp, and back of the knees but can occur in other places as well. Studies have also proven that eczema is an autoimmune disease (1) similar to psoriasis, lupus and many other immune disorders.
Suffering from dry, itchy, red patches of skin? It could be that you have eczema. Now as uncomfortable as this skin condition is, before you start to worry, take a deep breath. This is a skin condition that affects 10-20% of the population. Chances are that members of your family, co-workers, and individuals in your circle of friends are also dealing with it.
While we see and feel eczema on the surface of the skin, it actually starts below the surface. Research has shown that people with eczema have an imbalance in part of their immune system, which causes too much inflammation in the body. Inflammation is what causes eczema symptoms like rash, itchiness, and bumpy skin that may appear red, purple, or ashen gray across different skin tones. And when you scratch that itch, it creates even more inflammation, which in turn causes more itch and rash. This is called the itch-scratch cycle, and it often repeats and can worsen without treatment.
Parents often tell their clinicians that nothing they try seems to stop the itch. Research shows that the best way to relieve itchy eczema is to get eczema under control. This can take time.
- Soak a clean towel or washcloth in cool water.
- Wring the towel or washcloth until damp.
- Apply the cool compress to the itchy skin.
- After removing the compress, apply your child’s moisturizer to the skin you just treated with the compress.
Constant scratching can break the skin. To prevent bleeding and an infection, dermatologists recommend the following:
Keep your child's nails short: Checking nails after your child's bath lets you know when the nails need trimming.
Cover itchy skin: When skin is covered, children seem less likely to scratch. When dressing your child, be sure to:
Dress your child in lose-fitting clothes made from a soft, natural fiber-like cotton, a cotton blend, silk, or bamboo.
Consider using eczema mittens and eczema sleeves.
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