Eczema is a term referring to multiple causes of irritated, red, inflamed, and painful skin. Typically it is associated with types of allergies or asthma (e.g. hay dust causing a rash), and treatment options are based on the cause, severity, and location of the condition. By researching the origins of each case, dermatologists are able to reduce flare-ups and itching and heal the skin more quickly.
Using lotions is the most common treatment for eczema. Keeping the skin moist will reduce the urge to itch. Because more severe problems such as infection can arise when individuals scratch due to the micro-abrasions it causes, cold compresses and moisturizing topical ointments are the most common treatment when dermatologists are presented with a mild to moderate case of eczema. For more severe cases, hydrocortisone creams and similar prescribed or over-the-counter topical medications may be used.
Dupixent (dupilumab) which is an injectable prescription medicine used to treat adult patients with moderate-to-severe eczema whose disease is not well controlled with prescription therapies used on the skin (topical), or who cannot use topical therapies.
When an individual does scratch an area affected by eczema, bacteria can enter the wounds and cause an infection. Dermatologists will need to prescribe an antibiotic to stop the onset of a more serious problem. Eczema herpeticum, a common infection caused by scratching an affected area, will cause a wet, blistery, painful area covering the initial site of eczema accompanied by fever and continued itching. Antibiotics are necessary for combatting this and other types of infections caused by eczema.
Applying ultraviolet light to the skin is called phototherapy and the treatment is sometimes used to treat eczema in patients whose skin does not respond to topical treatments or antibiotics. Typically between 12 and 15 weeks of undergoing phototherapy, patients see reduced itching, less inflammation, and an increase in both vitamin D and the skin’s ability to fight infection. Typically it takes 2-3 treatments weekly to be effective, so consult with a dermatologist before deciding if phototherapy is right for you.