Russell Akin, MD | Board-Certified Dermatologist | Fellowship-Trained Mohs Surgeon | Skin Cancer Specialist | Midland, Texas
One of the most common skin reactions we treat at Midland Dermatology is eczema. The dry climate of Midland, Texas definitely doesn’t do us any favors when it comes to eczema diagnoses, as eczema is far more common in dry climates than it is in humid climates. In this blog post, I share a general overview of what eczema is, how it’s diagnosed, and treatment options for eczema here at Midland Dermatology.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is an itchy skin reaction caused by an immune system reaction, either from environmental factors or just an overactive immune system. We don’t necessarily know what triggers eczema in all patients, but it tends to be more common in patients who have a family history of eczema, as well as more common in patients who have allergies or asthma. Although eczema is an immune system reaction and not an allergic reaction, it can be associated with allergies and may sometimes be worse in patients who have allergies.
How is eczema diagnosed?
Eczema is typically diagnosed by a clinical exam. Sometimes a skin biopsy can be necessary and helpful, but eczema typically gives a reaction pattern on the skin that is suggestive of the diagnosis.
What are the treatment options for eczema?
The primary factor in treating eczema is to repair the skin barrier. The skin barrier is the protective covering of the skin, and is what helps protect us from the environment. So, how do we repair the skin barrier? By moisturizing! The most important factor in controlling eczema is really just moisturizing.
Moisturizing creams are more effective than moisturizing lotions. In warmer months, I recommend moisturizing 1-2 times a day, and then 2-3 times a day in the colder months. For moisturizing creams, I recommend CeraVe or Cetaphil cream, or a newer moisturizer to the market is LaRoche-Posay Lipikar Moisturizer, which I believe lasts longer than a lot of other moisturizers. Other great over-the-counter moisturizing brands are Aveeno and Neutrogena. If over-the-counter measures are not working, or it’s not controlling the itching associated with eczema, then it’s time to seek additional help from a dermatology clinic.
Patients with eczema can flare with skin infections, allergies, or other infections, such as strep throat. If you develop other illnesses, it may be important to also have those treated in order to improve your eczema. We typically treat eczema with topical steroids, which are anti-inflammatory in nature, but they also help in repairing the skin barrier.
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Russell Akin, MD, RPh. FACMS, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon who specializes in skin cancer treatments and other dermatological procedures with patients ages 12 and up at Midland Dermatology in Midland, Texas. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Akin, or any of the providers at Midland Dermatology, please call 432-689-2512.