Is there anything more annoying than an itch? Suffering from eczema (which can be known as atopic dermatitis) can be incredibly irritating, stressful and for some of us, embarrassing. You may be surprised to know that it has been estimated that a whopping 15 million people in the UK now suffer from eczema, with reported cases of eczema rising by 40% in the past 4 years, according to The Daily Telegraph.
1. What is eczema?
Sadly, Eczema is a somewhat chronic condition that commonly occurs in children but does occur in many adults. No matter which part of the skin is affected, eczema is almost always itchy. Sometimes the itching will start before the rash appears too! When it does flare up, the rash most commonly appears on the face, legs, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. It may also affect other areas of the body including our face and chest as well.
2. What are the symptoms of eczema?
The most profound symptom is itching. For some of us, excessive itching or a constant scratch can lead to bleeding, and an open wound puts us at risk of infection. If that’s not bad enough, we know that the itching can feel intolerable, effecting our mood and disrupting our beauty sleep, keeping us up all night even when the kids are fast asleep! Other symptoms you can easily see on the skin include a rash, which can be dry, inflamed, red/angry looking and scaly to.
3. What are the causes of eczema?
The bizarre thing about eczema is that we don’t really know the exact cause of this condition. Nonetheless, there is research to suggest that environmental factors and genetic factors both play a part! Eczema sufferers are likely to have an immune system that is overreactive when triggered by an irritant. This can be several things that cause the body to respond, but as a result this can cause inflammation and skin rashes.
Let’s start off with the environmental factors, these can be different from person to person, but can include coming into contact with metals (in particular nickel), cleaning products such as disinfectants, antibacterial creams, certain fabrics like polyester and wool, fragrances such as perfumes and even cigarette smoke. Let’s not forget that our emotional state can also be an influence too, with stress being a common cause of a flare up.
Now for the genetic factors…it has been suggested the eczema is hereditary and although you might not have family members with eczema, it is likely that you will have family members with related conditions, such as asthma or hay fever. All of that being said, there is actually no known specific proven cause of eczema!
4. How can I treat eczema?
Eczema can usually be diagnosed by a GP or Dermatologist. If the eczema doesn’t look typical on examination, then further testing can usually be done. This may involve a blood test or swab to test the skin for underlying causes, an allergy, food intolerance or a possible infection.
5. What can I do at home to sooth my eczema?
Firstly, adopting a consistent skincare regime can help. The aim of this regime is to hydrate the skin and keep it moisturised. You may also be prescribed some topical steroid creams to assist with any flare ups that arise. Secondly, taking warm baths can help soothe the affected areas and decrease the itchiness. Thirdly, wearing soft fabrics such as cotton can help and avoid wearing tight fitted clothing, which can exacerbate your eczema! Fourthly, when you’re showering, try to use products that are mildly fragranced as again these can exacerbate your eczema. Finally, if for example your eczema flares up when you’ve had a tough week at work, or you’ve been running around none stop with your kids all weekend. You need to put the brakes on and try and reduce this stress where you can and that goes for any other factors that you can think of that exacerbate your eczema, as in this way you can in effectively manage your eczema as much as possible!
So, if you are a new sufferer, hello and welcome to the club! Or if you have suffered with this condition for years but would like some more information regarding any topical creams that could help soothe your rashes, then why not come to Pall Mall Medical.
What Can I Do Next?
Our highly experienced Consultant Dermatologists, such as Dr Vikram Rajkomar who is accomplished in treating an array of skin conditions, including eczema, will be able to assess the severity of your eczema and advise on the best treatment options for you.
Get a fast-tracked appointment today and save the inevitable long waiting time you will face at your NHS GP. We look forward to seeing you!
If you would like to book an appointment with a GP or Dermatologist to assess your eczema, and what treatments could help, please contact Pall Mall Medical by calling 03300 58 44 55 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Appointments are available in Liverpool City Centre, Manchester City Centre and at our private hospital in Newton-le-Willows. There are NO waiting lists and you DON'T need a referral letter from the NHS to see a private GP or private Dermatologist at Pall Mall Medical. We offer a simple call and book system for all self-funding and medically insured patients.