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What Triggers Eczema?

Eczema is often linked to an immune system response to a trigger. It involves a complex interplay of factors that include genetics, where individuals with a family history of eczema or allergies are more prone to develop the condition.

Environmental elements such as pollens, animal dander, and dust mites can initiate an inflammatory process in the skin. Skincare products or detergents containing irritants and chemicals can cause reactions in sensitive individuals. Stress is also recognized as a trigger that can exacerbate symptoms (source). 

What Happens if Eczema isn’t Treated?

Untreated eczema can lead to several complications in affected individuals. Here’s what might happen:

  • Persistent symptoms: Without treatment, symptoms such as intense itching, redness, and inflammation are likely to continue. These symptoms can cause significant discomfort and may even disrupt sleep.
  • Skin infections: The itchy skin of eczema can lead to scratching, which breaks the skin barrier and makes one susceptible to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium that can infect the open sores.
  • Skin thickening: Chronic scratching and rubbing in response to itchiness can result in the thickening of the skin, a condition known as lichen simplex chronicus.
  • Impact on quality of life: Eczema can interfere with daily activities and may lead to poor self-image or social isolation due to visible symptoms or discomfort.

To prevent these complications, treatment options should be explored, ranging from over-the-counter eczema creams to prescription medication. These treatments aim to reduce symptoms, improve the skin barrier function, and prevent infections and flare-ups. 

It’s also important for individuals with eczema to consult with a healthcare provider to develop a tailored treatment plan.

How Do You Heal Eczema?

Managing eczema typically involves a combination of skin care strategies and lifestyle adjustments. Selecting the right cream for eczema is a crucial step towards soothing the skin and managing symptoms.

  • Skincare Routine: Establishing a daily skincare routine that includes gentle cleansing and regular moisturizing can help maintain the skin’s barrier function. It’s important to apply a moisturizer after bathing while the skin is still damp to lock in moisture. Individuals should opt for creams that are specifically formulated for eczema-prone skin (like these in the Medical Monks catalog), such as fragrance-free and hypoallergenic options.
  • Avoid Triggers: Identifying and avoiding specific triggers that can exacerbate eczema is essential. Triggers may include harsh soaps, detergents, certain fabrics like wool, environmental factors like dust or pollen, and stress. Keeping the skin cool and wearing breathable fabrics can minimize irritation.
  • Hydration: Keeping the skin hydrated can help alleviate the dryness and itchiness associated with eczema. Drinking adequate water and using a humidifier in dry environments can aid in maintaining skin hydration.

Is Eczema Common in Babies? 

Eczema is a common condition in infants, with about 10% to 20% experiencing it. Interestingly, nearly half of the infants diagnosed with eczema see either a complete resolution or significant improvement in the condition as they grow older (source). The occurrence of eczema, particularly atopic dermatitis, is often observed in the early stages of a child’s life, typically within the first six months. This prevalence is partly due to the increased sensitivity of a baby’s skin during their first year.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, it is noted that the majority of baby eczema cases resolve by the time children begin school, around ages 4 or 5. Additionally, as children move towards adolescence and adulthood, the severity of eczema tends to decrease. While some children may outgrow the condition entirely, others might continue to have sensitive skin or occasional flare-ups of symptoms throughout their lives.

What are the Best Eczema Creams? 

Creams are generally lighter, absorb quickly, and are suitable for moderate eczema. They are often preferred for daily use in large areas of the body. Ointments, on the other hand, are thicker and might be more appropriate for localized and severe dry patches, as they provide a stronger barrier and more intense moisture.

For targeted treatment, eczema creams such as Eucerin Original Healing Cream – Extremely Dry, Compromised Skin, and Sween 24 Once A Day Cream are often recommended by dermatologists for their gentle formulations that support skin healing. These products typically contain ingredients to help restore the skin barrier and retain moisture.

Choosing the right eczema cream may involve some trial and error, as different skin types respond to ingredients in various ways. Consulting with a dermatologist can also guide individuals toward a cream that is best suited to their specific condition.

With careful selection, the right cream can provide significant relief, helping to soothe the skin, reduce inflammation, and improve the quality of life for those dealing with eczema.

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