October is Eczema Awareness Month

Tag Archives: atopic dermatitis

Woman with Eczema

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease that affects more than 31 million people in the US alone. And with October winding down let us not forget Eczema Awareness Month. This month is the perfect opportunity to highlight the common condition to provide a better understanding of it.

Eczema usually presents as dry, red, and itchy patches on the skin that break out in rashes when scratched. Treatment usually involves avoiding scratching, using moisturizers, cold compresses, and anti-inflammatory creams or ointments. More commonly seen in children, the condition can affect people of all ages. 

Help those who have eczema live their best life. Spreading awareness provides individuals dealing with the condition an opportunity to better manage it. If you or someone you know is affected by eczema, October is a good time to seek out resources and get further education on the condition.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), National Eczema Association

Topical corticosteroids (steroids) are a common treatment option for a variety of dermatological conditions. The reason is that they promote anti-inflammatory responses by suppressing the immune system’s response. Typically prescribed for psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, eczema, and rashes, if prescribed appropriately they can yield very effective results.

This effectiveness however can lead to patients developing a dependency on them. Initially, after stopping the topical steroid, the condition may come back with a vengeance. So quite often, people will continue to apply the steroid even after the condition clears, and in doing so, severe side effects can arise.  Examples include, atrophy of the skin (the consistency in the area of skin where the cream was used becomes comparable to saran wrap) or striae (thick red lines that look like stretch marks). A way to avoid potential addiction is through the use of a stagger program. This can be done by using the topical steroid twice a day for two weeks, then taking one week off.

Although topical steroids are an effective option, if not administered properly it can lead to serious issues.