What Do I Ask My Dermatologist About Eczema?
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that affects one in 10 Americans, or 31 million people. Also known as atopic dermatitis, it’s the result of immune system activation, environmental triggers, stress, and/or genetic predisposition. Even though it’s not contagious, eczema can be very uncomfortable and cause self-esteem issues.
If eczema is making your life difficult, a dermatologist may have some answers and solutions. To make your next dermatology appointment as productive as possible, ask your doctor these questions about eczema.
What Are Common Eczema Triggers?
The most common eczema triggers include:
- Dry skin
- Food allergies
- Environmental factors, including dust, pollen, mold, cold weather, and arid climates
- Pet fur and dander
- Hormonal changes, especially in pregnant women
- Make-up and cleansers including soap, lotion, shampoo, and bubble bath
To determine your triggers, a dermatologist may administer an allergy test.
How Do I Avoid Flare-ups?
To avoid eczema flare-ups, your dermatologist will help you determine your triggers. They may advise you to change body washes, clothes, and skincare routines. They may also advise you to wash clothes and bedding more frequently and avoid dry or dusty environments.
I Haven’t Had a Flare-up For a While. Do I Actually Have Eczema?
If it’s been a while since you’ve had a flare-up, you may question if what you experienced was actually eczema. Work with a dermatologist to determine the exact nature of your symptoms.
It’s important to remember that eczema is more than just dry, flaky skin. For people with eczema, those dry patches turn red and bumpy and may get worse even though they haven’t scratched them.
If you’ve avoided triggers, you may not show any symptoms of eczema for a while, but it can still come back. A dermatologist can also help you identify if what you’re experiencing is eczema or:
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Chronic dry skin
- Skin rashes with other causes
Will My Eczema Go Away?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, eczema that starts in childhood may go away on its own. There’s no known reason for this.
However, eczema is a chronic condition with no known cure. Adults with eczema live with it their entire lives. A dermatologist can help you treat symptoms and greatly reduce flare-ups. Because eczema rashes may get worse without scratching, it’s important to treat it when it appears.
What Eczema Treatments Are Available?
Aside from avoiding triggers, there are a wide range of eczema treatments that may help you find relief:
- Topical steroids
- Topical medications
- Photo and laser therapy
- Specialty cleansers, and lotions
Your eczema treatment plan depends on your triggers and medical history. To find relief, record when your eczema flares up and why then discuss your journal with a dermatologist.
Can My Eczema Lead to Skin Infections?
While eczema is not a fungal, viral, or bacterial disease, scratching affected areas may lead to open sores and abrasions. If left untreated, these areas can become infected. Common symptoms of skin infections include:
- Yellowish, crusty skin
Adhering to an eczema treatment plan may decrease the chances of skin infections, so working with a skilled dermatologist is vital.
Find a Dermatologist to Answer These Questions and More
At North Pacific Dermatology of the greater Seattle area, our skilled team can help you answer these questions about eczema and come up with an individualized treatment plan. Schedule an appointment today for dermatology services tailored to you. You deserve to be comfortable in your skin.