Eczema Treatment in Baton Rouge
Experiencing Eczema or rashes? Sanova Dermatology in Baton Rouge can help!
Overview of Eczema
Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that presents as a scaly red or pink rash on the surface of the skin. In most cases, eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry, and even cracked—symptoms that can appear on any surface area of the skin. The most common places for eczema to develop on the body are the hands, feet, behind the ears, face (especially on the cheeks), insides of the elbows and backs of the knees. While anyone can develop eczema, it’s most common in children—who typically outgrow the disease by the time they reach adulthood—and in those with a family history of allergic conditions, such as asthma and seasonal allergies. Doctors have yet to determine what causes eczema, but the skin condition has been linked to genetics, immune dysfunction, environmental triggers, and a weakened skin barrier. Though eczema resembles an allergic reaction in terms of triggers and how it presents, the disease is known to be a form of dermatitis and not an allergy.
Eczema comes in many forms, including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, discoid eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, asteatotic eczema, and varicose eczema. Of these, atopic dermatitis is the most common. Though it can be fairly widespread, eczema is not contagious. Rather than being passed on through contact, the disease is often passed down genetically and can be triggered by environmental factors (such as living in dry areas or in cities with high levels of pollution), food allergies, and skin irritants (such as soaps, makeups, dust and cigarette smoke). Other triggers include stress and illnesses, which may weaken or suppress the immune system. In addition to causing discomfort and negatively affecting the appearance of your skin, eczema has been correlated with a higher risk for developing serious viral infections. If you suspect that you may have eczema, we recommend calling Sanova Dermatology in Baton Rouge to book an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists. At Sanova Dermatology, our dermatologists utilize a variety of treatment methods—including stress management, topical therapies, phototherapy, biologics and avoidance of potential irritants—to improve your symptoms. During your appointment, your dermatologist will evaluate your skin condition and discuss the best treatment options for you.
Types of Eczema
There are several types of eczema, many of which are referred to by multiple names. The most common forms of eczema are listed below.
- Atopic dermatitis – The most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis often affects infants, children, and adults who also have asthma, hay fever, or a family history of asthma or seasonal allergies. This type of eczema may be itchy, red, scaly, and fissured and affects more than 18 million American adults. Occasionally, atopic skin can be affected by impetigo or other skin infections.
- Contact dermatitis – Contact dermatitis can be classified as either irritant or allergic. Irritant contact dermatitis can develop when the skin is exposed to an allergy-triggering substance like latex, nickel or poison ivy. Meanwhile, irritant contact dermatitis can be brought on by a single or repeated exposure to skin irritants such as fragranced skin products, makeup, chlorine or detergent.
- Seborrheic dermatitis (also commonly called “cradle cap” or “crib cap” in babies) – Seborrheic dermatitis develops on areas of the body that have a lot of oil-producing (sebaceous) glands, such as the scalp, nose, and upper back. Seborrheic dermatitis most commonly affects adults and infants younger than 3 months old. In babies, this type of eczema is often referred to as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, or, more commonly, cradle cap. Common triggers for this type of eczema in adults include stress, illness, hormonal changes, medications and exposure to chemicals.
- Discoid eczema (also called nummular dermatitis) – Discoid eczema, also called nummular eczema or nummular dermatitis, frequently develops in men over the age of 50 and young women in their teenage and early adult years. This condition is characterized by oval or coin-shaped patches of rash on the skin that may itch or burn.
- Dyshidrotic eczema (also called dyshidrotic dermatitis or pompholyx) – A chronic and sometimes painful form of eczema, dyshidrotic eczema presents as itchy, red blisters and scaly patches on the hands and feet. This type of eczema most often develops in people ages 20 to 40 and in those with preexisting cases of contact dermatitis or atopic dermatitis. Other names for dyshidrotic eczema include dyshidrotic dermatitis and pompholyx.
- Asteatotic eczema (also known as eczema craquelé or xerotic eczema) – Asteatotic eczema presents as dry, red, itchy patches of cracked or flaky skin. This type of eczema frequently appears on the legs, chest, and arms and is most commonly found in elderly people. Other names for asteatotic eczema include eczema craquelé and xerotic eczema.
- Varicose eczema (also called gravitational dermatitis or stasis dermatitis) – Varicose eczema, also referred to as gravitational dermatitis, venous eczema, and stasis dermatitis, frequently affects the feet and lower legs and can be associated with venous disease. Signs of gravitational dermatitis include swelling around the ankles as well as skin discoloration, scaling, and redness in the lower extremities.
How to Treat Eczema
When treating eczema, it’s often helpful to take a two-pronged approach, including updating your current lifestyle practices to limit the frequency in which you come into contact with potential irritants and allergy triggers, and then adding additional medical treatment—such as topical treatment, systemic medications or light therapy—to calm the skin and reduce the risk of future eczema flare ups. At Sanova Dermatology, your dermatologist will evaluate your eczema to determine which type is present and decide the best course of treatment for your unique situation, needs and lifestyle. Depending on the type of eczema you have and the severity of your skin condition, your dermatologist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Topical treatments – Topical treatmentscan be applied to the skin to reduce eczema symptoms and inflammation. When coupled with a healthy, eczema-reducing lifestyle, topical therapies can go a long way in controlling eczema and preventing flare ups. Common topical treatments for eczema include corticosteroids, topical antibiotics, calcineurin inhibitors and PDE4 inhibitors.
Systemic medications – Systemic treatments such as oral immune-suppressing medications, antibiotics, and biologics work to treat eczema systemically, rather than topically. At Sanova Dermatology, we’re proud to offer the most advanced, cutting-edge treatments for eczema, including dupilumab, an injectable biologic treatment for atopic eczema.
Phototherapy – In some cases, your dermatologist may recommend phototherapy to treat your eczema. Phototherapy utilizes machine-manufactured ultraviolet light to help calm inflammation, reduce itchiness, increase vitamin D production and heal the skin’s natural barrier.
In addition to following your prescribed regimen, it can also be helpful to take up the following lifestyle measures to prevent future eczema flare ups.
- Staying hydrated
- Wearing breathable clothing
- Moisturizing your skin
- Taking cool showers
- Avoiding hot water
- Using mild soaps and detergents
- Avoiding scratching the affected area
- Choosing hypoallergenic skin products
- Managing your stress
- Limiting contact with irritants
- Using a humidifier
- Avoiding eczema-triggering foods
- Reducing sweating
- Managing your climate to reduce dryness
Though chronic, eczema can be treated and managed. If you’re ready to improve your eczema and get proactive about your overall skin health, call Sanova Dermatology now to book your appointment.
Contact Sanova Dermatology
For more information, or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dermatologists, please contact Sanova Dermatology today. Need a location closer to you? See our other Louisiana locations.