The terms Eczema and rashes are often used interchangeably. But Eczema describes a group of skin conditions with symptoms such as dry skin, itching, and inflammation. Typically, the patient experiences flare-ups that intensify or improve in cycles. It is critical to distinguish between the two when diagnosing Eczema & Rashes Santa Barbara. Here is a comprehensive take on the difference between rashes and Atopic Dermatitis.
The difference between eczema and dermatitis?
Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis, is accompanied by itching and dry skin. It can occur anywhere in the body. But for most adult patients, it is often on the knees, elbows and neck.
Eczema and rashes have visually similar symptoms, making it difficult to discern the two by visual examination alone. However, eczema is a long-term condition. A dermatologist must consider pre-existing medical conditions and the patient’s history.
Some of the symptoms that suggest Eczema may include:
- A family history of acute dermatitis
- Persistent skin dryness in the last 12 months
- Skin patches caused by frequent scratching
- Symptoms improve and worsen in cycles
How to differentiate eczema from other skin conditions
Timing of the flare-ups: The time a rash appears may help to distinguish it from other types of dermatitis. Contact dermatitis occurs when an irritant comes into contact with the skin. By determining how the rash appears, the patient can eliminate triggers and manage flare-ups better.
Location of the rash: The rash can spread over the entire body. But Atopic Dermatitis in adults will often be on the arms, neck, face and legs.
Symptoms of inflammation: Atopic Dermatitis is often due to genetic factors and immune system complications. If the patient experiences hay fever or asthma alongside scratching and itching, the condition could be Eczema.
What lifestyle changes can you make to manage eczema?
Managing eczema is possible with a few lifestyle changes. Management primarily involves eliminating the irritant or allergen causing scratching and rashes. Some of the lifestyle adjustments may include:
Dietary changes: Dietary changes are necessary where foods are causing allergic reactions and worsening symptoms.
Eliminating irritants in your environment: Scratching can worsen skin irritation and flare-ups. Avoid triggers like wool clothing and topical steroids.
Clothing, beauty products, and detergents: Moisturizers can reduce skin dryness. But the topical ointment must be free from potential irritants such as perfume, dyes, and peanuts. Also, long baths can cause skin dryness and increase the risk of breakouts.
What are the treatment options for Eczema?
Corticosteroid medication: It is a steroid that can effectively manage and suppress flare-ups. The severity of the patient’s symptoms will determine the potency of the prescription. Corticosteroids should be applied with caution as they may cause adverse effects on sensitive skin.
Antibiotics and antifungal creams: A dermatologist will prescribe antifungal or antibacterial medication if bacteria or fungi cause worsening of symptoms.
Light therapy: The therapy involves exposing the patient to UV light. Treatment requires specialized equipment to generate narrowband UVB wavelengths.
Managing Eczema is possible with lifestyle adjustments. If those changes do not improve the symptoms, it is advisable to see a dermatologist. Contact Lux Dermatology in Santa Barbara for more on Eczema management and treatment options.