See a video and written guide to hand washing with eczema, during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Dr Jack Mann, a consultant dermatologist, looks at the rising rate of eczema and the most effective approach to treatment.
In many parts of the world, dermatitis and eczema mean the same thing. In others, dermatitis tends to be applied to flare up conditions, with eczema used more for a chronic, long term condition.
The two can be viewed as related rather than synonyms in medical terminology but for practical purposes, regarding them as the same condition makes sense.
Common symptoms include inflammation of the skin, itching, often so intense that scratching damages the skin. The condition can itself produce a rough, scaly appearance, along with redness, blotchiness, blisters, or skin cracks.
Our consultant dermatologists will discuss your medical history, including related conditions, such as hay fever and asthma. They will thoroughly examine your skin and identify the nature of the eczema.
Discussing your daily life can matter. If an allergic cause is suspected, consultants are likely to carry out skin patch testing, with a range of possible allergens.
Exposure to environmental factors, an excessive workload, or other stress, or lifestyle aspects can be investigated. Links between diet and dermatitis may not be what you suspect but should be considered.
If a patient is young, we recommend seeing a children’s dermatologist. Eczema is common in children but can see the barrier function of their skin fail to return to normal. Good diagnosis and treatment are vital.
Dermatitis & Eczema Treatment
Skin inclined to eczema often reacts to soaps and detergents, drying out, becoming cracked, sore, susceptible to infections. Other triggers include dust mites, animal fur, pollens, food allergies, medical treatments.
A good diagnosis helps you identify and avoid triggers, which may be all the treatment you need. Suitable skin emollients and corticosteroid medication are still likely to help, often with significant effect.
The newer immunomodulator drugs, such as tacrolimus or pimecrolimus, are proving successful. To reduce swelling, or thickening of the skin and to repair the barrier function of your skin.
Reducing symptoms during flare ups is valuable, although targeted treatment can clear up dermatitis and eczema. Even for difficult cases, most people can expect their symptoms to improve notably.
Treatment At Our London Clinic
The worst feature of eczema and dermatitis is the itching. This can become unbearable, lead to sleep loss, frustration, depression, psychological stress which in turn aggravates the eczema even more.
The consultants offering treatment in our London dermatology clinic understand this, the value in allaying your symptoms. Their first duty is to make you feel better, be able to get through the day.
Their ongoing focus is still on the right treatment plan. Management, or elimination of dermatitis and eczema are the best way to bring long term improvement to your quality of life.