What is Eczema?
As defined by the National Eczema Association, “Eczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. There are eight types of eczema: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, hand eczema, lichen simplex chronicus, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and stasis dermatitis.”
This article will primarily focus on the treatment plan I was provided as a kid. The interesting thing is, many years later, I am still prescribed the same treatment plan that did not cure me and did not help me maintain my eczema. When will the dermatology field change the approach to eczema other than prescribing creams, antihistamines and allergy tests?
What causes Eczema and what is a flare up?
“No one really knows what causes Eczema” says EczemaCanada.ca. Eczema flares can happen when your skin comes in contact with irritants like soap, detergent, harsh clothing, scents, dust, overheating, sweating and other things you might be allergic too. It is important to change your soap and detergents to a scent and chemical free product to reduce irritation. Clothes made out of 100% cotton is excellent for eczema skin since it won’t irritate the skin and is one of the few materials that is breathable and moisture wicking.
As a kid and even today, the treatment plan given to me by doctors and skin specialists/dermatologists is:
- Prescription topical medications such as Protopic, Hydroval, Betaderm to apply to the affected areas
- Antihistamines such as Reactine, Benadryl and Atarax
- Allergy skin prick tests on a yearly basis to find my triggers and if I have outgrown any
- Moisturize daily by taking an oil bath 2-3 times a day and apply creams/lotions constantly
This treatment plan could be fine for you depending on the severity. However, what happens when your eczema starts to get worse? Doctors will usually increase the the strength of any of the prescribed medications until it is under control and then advise to decrease the dosage. My mistake was not decreasing the dosage as it got under control. The minute I decrease the dosage, my eczema got worse which resulted in me going through Topical Steroid Withdrawal. You can read about my Topical Steroid Withdrawal experience here.
If you aren’t satisfied with this treatment plan, I urge you to explore other options that may work such as Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medication, Accupuncture, etc. You may also want to make your own treatment plan. Don’t think of a treatment plan as something that needs prescription medication. It can be a combination of a lifestyle change, eczema based diet plan and natural home remedies. This is what I am currently doing and will be writing an article on this shortly!
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”