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Eczema: The Itch the Rashes
One of the most common skin problems we see in our office during the winter is eczema. It seems to flare are the temperatures cool and the forced-air heating kicks on, drying out the air. Living in Utah, our air is already very dry, but it is worse during the winter months. Fortunately, there are simple ways to combat the havoc it causes the skin and several new medicines available for those who need them.
The cause of atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is not completely understood. There are both environmental and genetic factors that contribute to an exaggerated immune response. Some individuals flare after eating certain foods. If this connection is noted, a visit to the allergist is usually recommended.
Most atopic patients have poor skin barrier function which leads to particles passing through the skin and stimulating the immune reaction. Chemicals, dirt, bacteria, pollen and other allergens can more easily pass through the skin’s defenses when the barrier is not functioning correctly. This skin barrier dysfunction can be attributed to a decreased amount of certain proteins or the right amount, but poorly formed proteins in the skin. These patients improve with the addition of moisturizers to aid the barrier function.
Maintaining the barrier is also important when washing the skin. Natural soaps are very alkaline, disrupting the skin’s naturally acidic pH. Strong soaps and hot water both strip the skin’s natural moisturizers. It is best to wash the skin with non-soap cleansers with cool to warm water. Frequent bathing with mild cleansers is not harmful, especially if moisturizers are applied immediately after toweling off.
There are a lot of good moisturizers for the eczema prone skin. When choosing one, try to avoid heavily scented or colored lotions. Dr Hansen prefers thick creams over thin lotions. Look for the newer generation of moisturizers which incorporate natural ingredients such as ceramide, cholesterol, and triglycerides. If you want to try all-natural moisturizers, coconut oil and vegetable shortening have shown good results even in severe cases.
It is nice to have a “fire extinguisher” handy when an eczema flare occurs. Topical steroids are a safe and effective way to put out the flare. They are only problematic if used non-stop for several months. Your dermatologist can guide you on the safe use of topical steroids.
Sometimes those traditional regimens don’t work. We are excited about the development of an FDA Indicated treatment for moderate and severe atopic dermatitis. It has been working extremely well for those severe patents where there was previously nothing approved. Our patients are experiencing a quality of life they never thought possible thanks to this new medication.
Eczema is a challenging skin condition, but there are good habits, treatments and medications to help control it. If you need help, call us! We would love to help you!
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"The staff is always friendly and professional, Dr. Hansen is very knowledgeable and personable. I would highly recommend."
"I was 100% pleased with my dermatology appointment with Dr. Hansen at Northern Utah Dermatology. I was able to see him in a timely fashion, he thoroughly addressed my concerns, and I appreciated his friendly, comfortable manner."
Our mission is to provide the highest quality dermatologic care for the entire family in a compassionate, caring and comfortable environment utilizing cutting-edge medicines, procedures, and products. We offer a variety of dermatology services to our patients. We treat patients of all ages for acne, warts, rashes, moles, eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer. We also offer surgical and cosmetic procedures including Botox®, fillers, and laser treatment of vessels and blemishes. We look forward to your visit in our office.
Northern Utah Dermatology
1495 E Ridgeline Drive
South Ogden, UT 84405
Northern Utah Dermatology
736 S 2000 W
Syracuse, UT 84075