Somewhere around a tenth of the American population (more than 31.million people) will at some point in their lives develop eczema. For many, it may be temporary, but for others, especially those whose symptoms start before the age of five, eczema can become a chronic issue.
At Rappaport Dermatology of Beverly Hills, with locations in Beverly Hills and Culver City, California, Drs. Vicki and Marvin Rappaport specialize in treating stubborn skin conditions like eczema.
Common signs of eczema
Signs of eczema can vary from person to person. However, the most common symptoms usually include several of the following:
- Itching skin, which may feel worse at night
- Skin that looks and feels dry, cracked, scaly, or thickened in spots
- Red or brownish gray discolorations on the skin
- Raised bumps that may leak fluid or form a crust over and over
- Raw, swollen, or sensitive patches on your skin especially at night
Causes and triggers of eczema
A root cause of eczema is unknown. It seems to be most common in people who have an overactive immune system as well as those whose bodies lack a protective barrier of moisture on their skin. Chronically dry skin is one of the most common problems for people prone to eczema.
However, for many people, specific triggers can be identified that correlate with eczema outbreaks. Some of the most common triggers include:
Allergies and skin outbreaks are often intimately related. Eczema is also called atopic (allergy) dermatitis, which means that certain substances can activate your immune system. This activation causes an inflammatory response that can include rashes and skin irritation. Allergens known to trigger eczema symptoms in some people include:
- Foods like sugar, gluten, and refined carbs
- Environmental allergens like pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust mites
- Irritants like smoke, fragrances, chemicals, metals, or fabrics
Extreme hot or cold can cause intense eczema flare-ups. Cold weather brings dryer air, which can lead to itchy skin, scratching, and outbreaks. Hot weather brings on sweating, which can also trigger irritation. Using a gentle moisturizer, staying hydrated, and controlling your body temperature as much as possible can help.
Mood and mental health
Emotional stress or anxiety won’t cause eczema, but if you do already have eczema, these things can make your condition much worse, which can in turn cause you to have higher rates of anxiety or depression. If you suffer from emotional or mental health issues, whether due to your eczema or not, let us know. We can help you manage symptoms and learn to enjoy life again.
If you have allergies, eczema, or other skin symptoms, our team can help identify your triggers and control your flare-ups. Contact one of our locations to schedule a consultation today.