Itchy, red skin patches that flake, ooze, and maybe even bleed: These are the hallmarks of unmanaged eczema, a common skin condition that can make you uncomfortable (and self-conscious, too).
The good news: With a healthcare provider’s help, even chronic eczema can be managed. The bad news: A lot of people ignore eczema symptoms or rely solely on less effective over-the-counter products and home remedies, delaying medical care that can help prevent their condition from getting worse.
At Regional Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center, our team of allergy specialists is skilled in identifying the causes of eczema and providing customized eczema treatment solutions focused on providing long-term, effective relief. If you have eczema, here’s why regular medical care is so important.
Different types of eczema
Even though the signs and symptoms of eczema are pretty standard, there are different types of eczema and various underlying causes.
The most common type of eczema, atopic dermatitis is an immune system reaction that tends to run in families. More than 25 million Americans — adults and kids — have this type of eczema.
Contact dermatitis happens when your skin comes in contact with an irritant, like a chemical or even certain metals. Excessive hand washing can trigger this type of eczema, too.
This type of dermatitis is similar to atopic dermatitis, but it doesn’t spread as much. If you scratch it, you could cause nerve ending damage in your skin.
More common among women than men, dyshidrotic eczema causes small, itchy blisters on the hands and feet. It often occurs with other types of eczema.
Nummular eczema causes round “spots” of eczema that can be extremely itchy.
Stasis eczema is related to an underlying circulation problem that causes blood and other fluids to leak into the skin, causing irritation and skin breakdown.
This chronic type of eczema happens in areas where your skin has a lot of oil-producing glands, like your upper back or your scalp.
Why treatment is so important
Because there are different types of eczema, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. That’s why a lot of over-the-counter products and home remedies fail — and why seeing our team is so important for your skin health (and your overall health, too).
Delaying treatment for eczema allows the condition to get worse — sometimes, a lot worse. That means the areas of itchy, flaky, patchy skin can spread to other areas of your skin, and your symptoms can become much more intense and unbearable.
Worse, when you delay treatment, you can significantly increase your risk of permanent skin damage and serious skin infections. That’s because in eczema, your skin’s natural protective barrier breaks down, making it easier for dangerous germs to enter.
Frequent scratching can lead to skin scarring and a change in your skin’s texture. Over time, your skin can start to feel leathery or it may change colors — changes that can become permanent.
Eczema treatment that works
Most people with eczema respond well to a combination of lifestyle changes and prescription medicines, sometimes including prescription-strength moisturizers and other non-irritating skin products. Our team will develop a plan based on your symptoms, the type of eczema you have, your lifestyle, and other factors, so you can enjoy optimal relief.
No matter what type of eczema you have or how severe your symptoms are right now, it’s really important to get the right type of treatment to help keep those symptoms under control. A custom treatment plan can keep your skin healthy, so you can reduce your risks of infections and other problems.
To get started on your personalized eczema treatment plan, contact Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center’s offices in Kingsport or Johnson City, Tennessee, or Abingdon, Virginia, today.