October is Eczema Awareness Month and there is no better time than now to learn more about uncomfortable skin rashes. It is especially important to get your symptoms under control before winter hits. Cold, dry weather can exacerbate affected skin and intensify the itchiness. We compiled some information to help you treat eczema and minimize your symptoms, no matter what time of year it is.

Understanding Eczema

Before you can effectively treat eczema, you must first understand what it is and why it occurs. This common skin condition is characterized by red, inflamed, and itchy skin. The name "eczema" comes from a Greek word that means "to boil over." If you have ever experienced the condition, you understand first-hand why this description is so fitting. According to the National Eczema Association, more than 30 million Americans have some form of this skin condition. It is seen most often in infants and it usually clears up on its own by the time the child turns 3 years old. When adults have the condition, it is usually chronic and may flare up in response to certain triggers.

There are eight different types of eczema:

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Hand eczema
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Dyshidrotic eczema
  • Nummular eczema
  • Stasis dermatitis
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Neurodermatitis/Lichen simplex chronicus

All these types are known for causing itchy, red skin, but some -- including atopic dermatitis -- can also cause weeping blisters or peeling skin. Recommended treatments depend on the type and severity of the skin condition you have.

Suggested Treatment Options for Skin Rashes

There are a variety of things you can do to manage skin rashes. Applying topical, low-potency corticosteroids and mild anti-itch lotion can bring relief from minor symptoms. To soothe weeping lesions, try using mild soaps, moisturizers, and wet dressings. Creams and ointments containing medium to high potency corticosteroids or tar compounds can soften thick, dry lesions. For very severe cases, systemic corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Topical immunomodulators (a new type of skin medication) are also available for those who don't want to use steroids.

Avoid Allergens

In addition to treating your skin with lotions, mild soaps, and ointments, you should also avoid known food allergens and skin irritants (like lanolin and wool). Pay attention to any food or non-food items that seem to aggravate your symptoms, then avoid them whenever possible.

Take Control of Your Symptoms

If you want to learn how to treat eczema and other skin rashes once and for all, the skilled dermatologists at Helendale Dermatology & Medical Spa can help. After evaluating your skin condition, they will provide you with a customized treatment plan. Request a complimentary appointment online or call 585.266.5420.