As a common condition in society, eczema usually appears on hands, fingers, arms and the scalp, and often afflicts housewives the most. Water, detergent or soaps used in household cleaning are among the main causes of eczema. It is important to take precautions and have regular checkups to prevent the condition from occurring, or in some cases, reoccurring. Dr. Gökhan Okan of Memorial Bahçelievler Hospital Department of Dermatology has provided some information about eczema and its treatment.
Blisters may appear on your skin
Generally, eczema manifests itself as blisters in the first stage. The blisters are then replaced by dry, flaky areas and rashes, with a thickening of the skin in the last stage; though it is important to note that symptoms may vary from patient to patient. Eczema may be inherited or develop due to external factors. Although it is a very common condition, there is no definitive treatment for eczema. As a result, the main treatment is simply protecting your skin from elements that may lead to an outbreak.
Hairdressers and cleaners at high risk
The detergents used in everyday life or professional-strength adhesives and chemical solutions lay the ground for eczema. For this reason, the most frequent groups that develop eczema are housewives, housekeepers and hairdressers. The most common body part affected by eczema are hands. Eczema on hands often occurs as the skin's biological defense capacity decreases or disappears. Factors such as water, soap, detergent and a dusty environment can wear out your skin's natural defenses. Frequent hand washing and using cleaning materials such as bleach are often the leading causes of eczema. The condition is most often seen on the back and front of the hands. Often, dry lesions begin asymmetrically on one hand and spread to the other.
Allergic reactions lead to outbreaks
Eczema can also develop due to allergies and on those who have a history of allegoric reactions. This type of eczema will not clear up as long as contact with the allergen continues. Unfortunately, an allergic reaction to an agent is a life-long problem that currently does not have a cure. Once contact is made, even the smallest amount of the allergen can lead to an outbreak of eczema.
Patch test for diagnosis
In the case of an allergy-based eczema, a patch test is often administered to detect the allergen. During the test, low concentrations of allergenic substances are adhered to the back of the patient. The patients' dermatological reactions to the irritants are evaluated 48 and 72 hours later. If there is an allergy to any substance, redness, swelling and irritation will occur in the area where the substance was applied. During the test, the patient should not take a shower, do sports or use medication that could affect the test's results. Eczema is diagnosed in accordance with the patient's history, a physical examination and a patch test.
Healing your skin
At the beginning of eczema treatment, wet dressings, local corticosteroid pomades and non-cortisone immunosuppressive drugs are used. Neutral soaps, barrier creams, moisturizers and gloves are recommended to reduce the frequency of breakouts and strengthen the skin.
Flaky scalp could be eczema
The scalp is another area where eczema occurs. Seborrhoeic eczema, which manifests itself with dry flakes and dandruff in the hair, is a chronic condition. It is less common in summer with occurrences increasing in the winter. It is often confused with psoriasis. Apart from the scalp, eyebrows, the sides of the nose, behind the ear, inside the ear and the chest are other areas where seborrhoeic eczema most often occurs. Stress is also a big factor in the frequency of outbreaks. Genetic factors affect the development of the condition as well. Medical shampoos, lotions containing steroids and itch-relief tablets are most often prescribed to treat the condition.
12 tips to prevent eczema
Make sure the temperature of your environment is well-balanced and has adequate humidity.
Use neutral soaps.
Adjust your bathing frequency according to the season; be sure to bathe every other day.
Do not bathe in very hot water; do not use rough washcloths or scrubbing puffs. After your bath, moisturize your entire body.
Frequently ventilate your home.
Keep items that can collect dust, such as woolen or polar blankets, duvets, carpets and toys away from the bedroom.
Moisturize your hands frequently.
Use gloves when cleaning. Make sure that cleaning agents such as detergents and bleach do not touch your hands.
In cold weather, avoid wearing wool clothing as much as possible, or wear it over soft cotton or with cotton underwear.
Do not touch food like raw vegetables, fruits, onions, meat and fish with your bare hands.
Clean your hands with warm water; dry them with a paper towel.
Try to stay away from stress.