Is That Itchy Rash Eczema? How to Know and How to Treat

Eczema is an irritating skin condition that can cause itching, burning, and flaking of the skin. It can lead to infections if scratched excessively and has the tendency to be persistent in drier weather. To determine if eczema is present, follow the steps below.

See a Doctor or Dermatologist

A doctor will be able to tell if the itchy redness is eczema or something else. There are a number of conditions that appear similar to eczema, so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis. If a primary care doctor is unsure of a diagnosis, it is a good idea to see a dermatologist.

Learn the Type of Eczema

There are numerous different varieties of eczema, including atopic, xerotic, and contact. Ask the doctor for a precise diagnosis, as treatment can vary depending on the specific type. If necessary, a doctor may perform a skin biopsy to determine the exact form of eczema present.

Once a diagnosis has been made, be sure to follow all the diagnosing doctor’s recommendations. A topical preparation of a cortisone-based cream will likely be prescribed. Use this as directed, making sure never to use any steroid cream for longer than specified. Overuse of steroid creams can lead to thinning of the skin.

Even if not recommended by a doctor, these are some wise practices to follow for those diagnosed with eczema:

Avoid Irritants

Eczema outbreaks are often triggered by irritants like fragrances or cleaning products. Make sure laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos, deodorants, and lotions are all fragrance-free.

Apply Fragrance-Free Lotion Often

Lotion will help keep the eczematous skin moister and stronger. It will also help lessen the itchiness that often accompanies eczema. Apply several times a day including after bathing.

Take Tepid Water Baths or Showers

Hot water dries skin out and makes eczema more difficult to treat. Use tepid water when bathing followed by gentle towel drying and immediate moisturizer application.

Use Sunlight Carefully

Light has been shown to improve eczema, so allowing about 10 minutes of exposure to affected areas around the noon hour should help. Be sure to apply sunscreen once the time is completed.

Consider an Antibiotic if the Eczema Gets Out of Control

If a flare-up is particularly bad and the skin has become broken and crusted, go back to the doctor for another examination. If the skin has become infected an antibiotic may be necessary.

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