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Eczema: When You Feel The Itch…Unwind!

Increased stress at  home, and at work can take its toll on your physical, emotional and psychological well-being. It can cause you to feel extremely fatigued and can make your skin act up. Acne breakouts occur when pores become clogged. Still, it is not always acne that we should be worried about. Red, irritated, and itchy skin can be an eczema in the offing.

Eczema is a common skin irritation characterized by reddening of the skin which sometimes appear as small, oozing, fluid-filled bumps. There are many forms of eczema, but atopic eczema is one of the most common and severe. There is no exact known cause for eczema but doctors believe that skin allergies and the way a person’s immune system reacts to things may be involved in the formation of eczema.

For most people, itchiness is the worst and most uncomfortable symptom of eczema and can often be the most difficult to treat.

Eczema is not contagious but scientists believe that some are predisposed to this skin condition if their parents or close family relatives also have eczema and allergies like hay fever or asthma. Some people who develop eczema are also allergic to cow’s milk, soy, eggs, fish, or wheat. Allergies to animal dander, rough fabrics, and dust may also trigger the condition in some people.

People who are under severe stress may find it difficult to avoid all the triggers, or irritants, that cause or worsen eczema flare-ups. These itchy patches of eczema may affect any part of the body but are usually seen where the elbow bends, on the backs of the knees, ankles, wrists, face, neck, and upper chest.

Eczema flare-up may feel hot and itchy at first, prompting the person to scratch it. Continuous scratching will eventually make the patch turn red, inflamed, and blistered. When heavily scratched, the skin becomes almost leathery in texture. Others find that their skin becomes extremely dry and scaly.

Atopic eczema can easily be confused with a skin condition called contact dermatitis, which happens when the skin comes in contact with an irritating substance like the perfume in a certain detergent. Dermatologists usually conduct physical examination and inquire about your medical history, your family’s health history, and the medications you have been taking in order to make proper diagnosis. Since emotional stress can also lead to eczema flare-ups, your doctor might also inquire about any problems you might be having at school, home, or work.

Treatment can be in the form of creams and ointments that help soothe the redness and irritation. Some anti-eczema medications are taken orally. In cases of severe eczema, ultraviolet light therapy can help clear up the condition.

Eczema cannot be cured but its symptoms can be managed. However, there are many ways to prevent a possible eczema flare up. Use only nondrying facial cleanser or soap substitute for facial eczema. This will keep facial skin from being irritated. A non-comedogenic/oil-free facial moisturizer can also help ease the dryness and itchiness cause by eczema. Try not to apply make-up or use only hypoallergenic makeup and sunscreens.

Furthermore, try to avoid substances that may stress your skin such as household cleaners, drying soaps, detergents, and fragranced lotions. It is possible that too much exposure to water can dry out your skin. A brief shower with warm water is advised but it may be advisable to wear gloves if your hands will be in water for long periods of time. Pat your skin dry gently and thoroughly. Do not rub with a coarse towel which can irritate the condition. Remember, it isn’t the water that causes your skin to react; it’s the water evaporating if not dried soon enough. Wear clothes made from cotton fabrics. Avoid scratchy fabrics like wool which can irritate the skin. Do not scratch no matter how itchy it gets. Scratching can worsen the eczema and cause breaks in the skin which could lead to bacterial infections.

Eczema is pestering, but you can learn to manage the condition by avoiding anything that will trigger it. Since stress can trigger eczema, find time to unwind and relax. Engage in different activities that will set your mind off from the itch.

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