Eczema or dermatitis is inflammation of the skin. Eczema can be naturally divided into two main groups; exudative eczema (also called wet eczema) and non-exudative eczema (also called dry eczema); psoriasis is a type of dry eczema.
Some forms of eczema can be triggered by substances that come in contact with the skin like soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewelry, or sweat. Environmental allergens, changes in temperature or humidity, or even psychological stress, can lead to an outbreak of eczema.
Symptoms of eczema include:
- Redness on skin
- Dry, flaky skin
- Itchy blisters
- Skin inflammation
- Small bumps on forehead, neck, and cheeks
- Rough and thickened skin
Corticosteroid eczema creams are sometimes prescribed to reduce the inflammatory reaction in the skin. These eczema creams may be of mild, medium, or high potency depending upon the severity of the symptoms.
If itching is severe, oral antihistamines may be prescribed. To control itching, the sedatve antihistamine drugs appear to be most effective. In some cases, a short course of oral corticosteroids is prescribed to control an acute outbreak of eczema, but their long-term use is discouraged.
The oral immuinosuppressant drug cyclosporine has also been used to treat some cases of eczema. Ultraviolet light therapy (phototherapy) is another treatment option for some people with eczema.
Eczema diet treatment involves abstinence from trigger substances like alcohol, saturated fats, caffeine, excess salt, refined sugars, red meat, and food containing monosodium glutamate. A diet comprised of vitamins, high fiber, tea, fruits, and probiotic food is considered beneficial.
Recently, the FDA approved tacrolimus (brand-name: Protopic) for treating eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. Protopic is the first effective non-steroid treatment for Eczema. A related drug, pimecrolimus, is now on the market. These new drugs are referred to as "immune modulators." Unlike steroid eczema creams, these new medications do not cause thinning of the skin and breaking of superficial blood vessels.
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