A Doctor’s Lowdown on Eczema

hand eczema symptoms
hand eczema symptoms

Have you ever experienced getting rash that would linger for days on end? If yes, then you may as well be suffering from eczema. UbiqiHealth survey about eczema treatment shows that about 1 Singaporean out of 5 have encountered eczema. You must know that this illness goes beyond just having a sensitive skin.

This list compiles everything you need to know, based on my years of treating a majority of patients, about battling eczema.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a condition where a part of the skin gets inflamed and breaks out in rashes as a result of the immune system’s assault to the dermis because of overstimulation.

Whenever this happens, the skin gets dehydrated and loses its efficiency as a protective layer. This eventually leads to dryness and an irritating prickly feeling that won’t go away.

Can eczema surface anywhere in the body?

Eczema doesn’t make any exceptions. It may happen anywhere in your body. From the top of the head to the tips of your toes, as long as there is the skin you may be prone to eczema woes.

However, not all rash that form in the body is eczema. It is best to head to a dermatologist to see if the skin irregularity that you have is indeed eczema. Remember that an accurate diagnosis is important to be able to address this successfully.

What triggers eczema in the body?

There are several factors that may set off eczema. In Singapore, the most common irritant that causes a breakout of rash is its climate. The hot and humid weather can be extremely harsh to the skin. Sometimes eczema may also be due to stress, viral infection, abrasive chemicals from household products that may irritate the skin, and dried out skin.

I’ve had my personal bout with eczema when I was a kid and, believe me, it was not an enjoyable experience! For a time, when my family and I lived abroad, eczema disappeared. Singapore’s heat and humidity caused my rash to be back with a vengeance the moment we returned!

So, if you want to be free from this itchy inconvenience, try avoiding its triggers. For example, use protective clothing or items whenever your skin needs to be exposed to products that may cause eczema.

How do I get relief from eczema?

Imagine your skin as a piece of shirt that you put on. This shirt serves as a protective layer that guards you against external harmful things and, likewise, stops internal things from escaping out.

Wear and tear happen when the shirt isn’t treated with the utmost care. The shirt may be poked with holes, reaching a security compromise. Similar to this, the skin, when not moisturized, becomes dry and cracks. As it fails to retain moisture its surface gives in and ends up with added itchiness and rash. This repeats until intervention happens.

In this case, the best intervention to restore dryness and rash is by application of a moisturizer. When a moisturizer is administered to cracked skin, it covers as a defensive layer and simultaneously allows the skin to heal itself.

As the skin receives the right pampering it needs from proper hydration, expect to see your eczema clear up. However, it is vital that the skin is still moisturized to avoid eczema from returning.

I highly recommend an Aqueous cream, Cetaphil, and QV cream for moisturizers. These are brands that are very gentle on the skin.

I usually advise my clients to apply moisturizers 3-4 times a day. This may be taxing for some, so ask your doctor for a brand that locks in moisture to the skin for longer periods of time.

Are topical ointments safe for treatment of eczema?

Steroids are very effective in countering the effects of an overactive immune system.

I am aware that most Singaporeans are wary of using any medication with the label “steroids” on them. Nevertheless, for eczema, topical steroids are efficient in easing inflammations and soothing rash.

hand eczema

A seasoned doctor should be able to prescribe you with a steroid containing the accurate strength depending on the location of your eczema. The skin on the face is greatly sensitive and should, therefore, be given a dose of weak steroids. The thicker the skin, the higher strength of steroids may be used.

If steroids are prescribed and applied properly, a patient need not worry about skin thinning or the myth of the bloodstream soaking up steroids.

May I please scratch the itch?

Hold it! Have you ever heard a product tagline that goes, “Once you pop you can’t stop?” That is exactly the same for eczema! Once you start scratching, there’s no stopping!

As much as it feels so darn good to scratch an itch, it will actually do the skin more harm. Scratching will irritate the skin more and can cause wounds.

There are more alternatives to treating eczema aside from moisturizers, so read on!

How about oral medicines?

Anti-histamines and Prednisolone are the generic medications given to treat eczema.

Anti-histamines are taken orally to relieve the itchiness of the rash. There is no known side effect to this and it performs a crucial role in ending disrupting the repetitive itch-scratch-rash episodes.

Prednisolone, on the other hand, is a kind of steroids that help calm an over-stimulated immune system. When this drug takes effect, it diminishes the appearance of the rash and subsides the itchy feeling.

It is best to have a doctor supervise the administering of these medications as prolonged use may cause unwanted side effects. When getting a prescription, always mention your medical history to your doctor (in case you are seeing more than one) as improper use may lead to your body’s being dependent on the drug.


eczema on hands

What causes eczema?

Can eczema cause severe infection?

At worst, eczema may be able to cover up 90% of the body. Infection is unavoidable and will need immediate care. Likewise, the skin becomes exceedingly dehydrated. When this happens, individuals suffering from the disease must be confined in a hospital for extensive treatment.

Can diet cause eczema?

I have clients come to ask if they should follow a certain diet in order to avoid eczema.

My answer? There is currently no study that shows a connection between eczema and a specific diet that resulted in a positive outcome. The best advice I give to elude a rash from surfacing is not to eat food that is likely to cause eczema.

What are the chances of being eczema-free for life?

It’s sad to say that eczema happens to tag along with a person for his entire life. I am a perfect example of that. However, with the right maintenance and gentle care, we can lessen their occurrences in our lives. Always remember to moisturize and skip food, which can trigger its existence. When you become master on this you are headed to a much greater chance of seeing less of this pesky rash from your body.

Read More: Adult Acne – How To Deal With It

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