What is eczema?
Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is a condition characterised by red, inflamed, and irritated skin. It refers to a group of skin conditions that include seborrheic dermatitis, which mostly affects the scalp and results in scaly skin. Eczema is very common in Australia, with more than half a million cases of the condition per year. The red, inflamed, and sometimes scaly skin can be a lifelong issue, and treatments can help to manage the severity of the symptoms.
Although seborrhoeic dermatitis mainly affects the scalp, generally, eczema can affect many different areas of the body. It may affect the face, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, ears, chest and back. The dry and inflamed skin can cause significant discomfort, itchiness, and pain, and learning how to manage the condition can greatly increase a person’s daily comfort and quality of life.
If you are concerned about eczema symptoms, professional treatment by a qualified professional can help you regain healthier and clearer skin. Inquire at Shellharbour Skin to receive a personalised treatment plan.
Causes & symptoms
In people who have eczema, the skin does not retain moisture well, and the severe dryness leads to irritation and redness. The skin then releases chemicals that make the area feel itchy, leading the person to scratch their affected areas. Although this can provide temporary relief, scratching only worsens the irritation and makes the skin feel itchier, which becomes a repetitious cycle.
Eczema can affect any area of the body but is most common in the joints such as the elbows and knees. Although symptoms can vary between patients, certain characteristics will be recognised by a medical professional. If you have eczema, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Severe itchiness
- Rashes and swollen skin
- Dry, cracked, or thickened skin
- Skin appears raw and sensitive due to scratching
- Coin-shaped itchy patches
The causes of eczema are unknown, but it tends to run in families. Certain environmental things can cause the condition to flare, and paying attention to your triggers will help us manage and treat the condition. Triggering factors can vary from person to person, but they generally include:
- A yeast that normally lives on the skin
- Certain medical conditions and medicines
- Some chemicals and preservatives
- Rough, woollen, or prickly fabrics
- Cold, dry weather
Eczema consultation at Shellharbour Skin
Diagnosis is an important first step for any skin treatment. This means before we talk about your options, we will need to examine your condition and provide an accurate diagnosis. Dr Barney will assess your skin and determine the severity of your eczema in order to ascertain the best treatment approach. He will speak with you about your condition, general health, and preferences, and you will be welcome to ask any questions to gain further clarification on your options. During your consultation, we may also discuss the potential causes and triggers for your skin condition, such as any medical conditions or medications you may be taking.
Once we have all the relevant information, Dr Barney will explain the best options for eczema treatment, catering to your specific circumstances.
Your treatment plan
The initial consultation is important, as it allows us to understand your needs and skin concerns. It also gives you the opportunity to state your preferences and work with us to develop the most ideal treatment plan that makes you feel confident in achieving a good end result. Since individual eczema patients may require different treatment methods, we may recommend one or a combination of the following options:
LED light is a powerful dermatological tool that is used to treat a variety of skin conditions. The broad spectrum light energy is absorbed by the skin, leading to reduced inflammation and boosting your skin’s ability to heal. Red light is generally the most promising LED light for treating eczema.
In some cases, Dr Barney may recommend a topical prescription-only medication. We will assess and discuss this option during your consultation and take all your relevant health information into account.
Cosmeceutical skincare can be a great way to treat eczema. When developing your treatment plan, we advise you to use particular products, suited to your skin type and condition. Since eczema patients usually suffer from skin dryness, skincare will likely involve serums or moisturisers to help your skin stay hydrated.
It is worth getting a skin check if you have any of these traits and have moles or spots, even if you have not identified any concerning marks.
Results & aftercare
The results of treatment can take some time to become effectual, and patients should be aware that the condition may never completely go away. However, your personalised eczema treatment plan will be designed to reduce your symptoms and make the condition more manageable. Certain skincare products can help optimise your results, which we will discuss in your consultation, such as:
- Propaira Prebiotic Cleanser and Prebiotic Moisturiser
- Propaira Biotic Eczema Cream
- Dermaceutic Hyal Ceutic
- Dermaceutic K Ceutic
- Propaira Mineral SPF40 Tinted Sunscreen
- Aspect Physical Sun Protection SPF50+
It is also important to understand your triggers so that you can avoid flare-ups. For example, you should moisturise daily, avoid overheating, and avoid products that can damage your skin such as harsh soap. Inquire for more information on eczema treatment.