Does Eczema Last For Life?
Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is one of the many skin conditions a lot of people deal with. It is an inflammatory skin disease that affects around 10% of the worldwide population.
Eczema can affect people of all ages, but it mainly starts in childhood. One of the major concerns many patients have is whether it will go away.
Eczema cause rashes on the skin that may be:
- Painful or sore
What Causes Eczema?
The main cause of Eczema is underlying inflammation. That inflammation occurs as a result of substances that cause a negative immune reaction to the skin. Those could include allergens or environmental factors.
One of the common causes of this skin condition is allergies. The most common allergens include pet dander, pollen, and certain foods.
You might also get eczema by coming into contact with some fabrics, chemicals, and dyes. Some of the substances include perfumes, nickel, bleach, wool, detergents, and soaps with dyes and preservatives, rubbing alcohol, pesticides, and plants like poison ivy.
While it is not contagious, you can inherit eczema if someone from your family has had it before.
There are different stages at which you can develop eczema:
Chronic- This a very common stage, and it mainly develops in kids before they are one year old. You might have chronic eczema over a lifetime and have occasional flare-ups. However, childhood eczema gets better as you age.
Acute- This is short-term eczema that happens because of skin sensitivity triggered after you encounter an irritating substance or things you are allergic to. This stage lasts only a few weeks.
Subacute- This stage is a healing phase of eczema, but you can still have flare-ups that develop into full rashes if you leave them untreated.
Does Eczema Go Away?
You can get eczema at any point in your life, and it might range from mild to severe. There are different types of eczema with different triggers. One of the main ones is contact dermatitis, which happens when you contact an allergen or substance that irritates your skin.
You can also have seborrheic dermatitis, which comes in the form of dandruff. The other is atopic dermatitis, which many doctors consider chronic. That means that the symptoms could last over six months or could be lifelong.
There is no established cure for eczema, and most times, especially with atopic dermatitis, the symptoms and rashes do not go away if you leave them untreated. However, if you get it as a child, the rashes and symptoms get better as you age.
With contact dermatitis, however, the rashes and symptoms disappear if you stop coming into contact with the triggers.
Therefore, it is important to identify your triggers and talk with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that will help you manage the rashes and flare-ups in the long term.
How Long Do Eczema Flare-Ups Last?
How long your flare-ups last depend on the type of eczema you have and the severity of the flare-up. Contact flare-ups happen when you come into contact with something that affects your skin. If you get the right treatment, flare-ups could last for only 1-3 weeks.
On the other hand, allergic flare-ups happen when you are exposed to an allergen, and they last longer than contact flare-ups.
By using a good preventive medication plan, the symptoms and rashes of chronic eczema such as atopic dermatitis might go into remission. That means that the eczema is inactivated, and you go without any symptoms. Remission periods can last for weeks and even years.
How You Can Prevent Eczema Flare-Ups
You can reduce the occurrence and severity of flare-ups using some of the following methods:
Avoiding your triggers
This is the most effective way to go without flare-ups for a long time. First, ensure to identify all your triggers and stay as far away from them as possible.
Protect your skin
Add a layer of protection to your skin to keep it from environmental triggers. You can do that by using a moisturizer after showering. Also, do not use soaps and lotions that have dyes and preservatives in them, as that could trigger a flare-up or make it worse.
If you have any open wounds on your skin, ensure you protect them with bandages. Also, avoid scratching any rashes that occur on your skin to avoid scratches and wounds that could cause an infection.
Control humidity and heat
While your eczema can sometimes cause dry patches on the skin, that condition worsens when you expose your skin to heat and humidity. Ensure that your home is a bit cooler and drier.
Some people say that their flare-ups worsen during winter because of the dry air. If yours are the same, use a humidifier to help ease the symptoms.
Your body heat could also trigger or worsen eczema. Therefore, you should wear breathable fabrics like cotton to help the heat from your body escape. You should also take cool showers after exercising or after tedious activities.
While there is no definite cure for eczema, your allergist in Princeton might recommend one or a combination of some of these treatments, depending on your eczema triggers.
Depending on what causes your flare-ups, you might need to use topical corticosteroid creams, take oral allergy medicines, or both. While you can use steroid creams for short-term results, you might need to take oral allergy medications year-round to prevent symptoms.
Alternatively, you can take immunosuppressant drugs that work by slowing down your immune responses if you have severe eczema.
These help reduce the incidences of eczema and minimize the urge to scratch, especially in kids.
If you have severe allergies that do not respond well to oral medication, your doctor might recommend allergy shots or immunotherapy. They contain a small amount of the substance causing the allergies.
Your doctor starts with small doses, which gradually increase over time. The idea is to help your body develop immunity to your allergy triggers to help reduce the occurrence and severity of your flare-ups.
Oatmeal baths are a common natural way to help your eczema. They help soothe discomfort and itchiness caused by the rashes and reduces your urge to scratch. Ensure to use lukewarm water instead of hot, and moisturize right after.
You can also use probiotics and prebiotics, as some research shows that they help prevent inflammation.