Eczema is a type of allergy that occurs in the skin, causing dryness, itching and bumps. Discover why people with eczema should moisturize with as thick of a lotion as possible with help from a practicing pediatrician in this free video on allergies and eczema.
Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill and today we're going to be talking about, what is Eczema? Eczema is a type of allergy just like the allergy that might affect your nerves or eyes or lungs, in the case of Asthma. But Eczema occurs in the skin. It often starts with dryness in the skin which allows an allergen to get in. Then an immune reaction makes the dryness worse, causes itching and bumping. As you scratch, that itchy, bumpy area, guess what? You make it worse by scratching it, opening up the skin to more allergens. So you want to stop the allergens from getting into the skin. We keep Eczema, to begin with, by keeping oil on the skin by minimizing bathing and the use of soap. Now there are times when you have to wash your hands or take a bath, that's fine. But if you do that, try to use as little soap as possible. And try to use cooler water as opposed to warmer water. The warmer water washes away the oils that are naturally in the skin. As soon as you get out of that bath, moisturize, ideally within three minutes. And be sure to pat dry rather than rubbing dry, which causes more damage to the skin. Ideally, you'd moisturize with as thick a lotion as possible. Best being Petrolatum Jelly like Vaseline. Next down from that are jarred creams such as Eucerin, Cetaphil or Aquaphor. Remember the thinner the lotion, the less protective it's going to be. Because Eczema is an allergy, it responds to medications that have an effect on allergies on immune system. You might find that taking an antihistamine like Zyrtec, Clariton, Allegra is helpful. Or even Benadryl for particularly bad flare. We also use steroid, lotions, creams and ointments on the skin. The weakest is over the counter, Hydrocortisone, but that will do for a lot of cases of Eczema. We also use prescription Triamcinolone, Mometizone, Budesonide and other higher potency steroids. There's another category of medication that we use called the Calcineurin inhibitors. These include two medications Elidel and Protopic. If you have bad Eczema that won't go away, you probably going to want to talk to your doctor about using one or more of these prescription medications. Talking today about what is Eczema, I'm Dr. David Hill.