Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin disorder that results in problems like dry skin, rashes, itchiness, blisters, scaly patches, and even infections. It varies in severity from mild to extreme, so a variety of treatments exist to meet patients’ varying needs.
This skin condition often arises in children, but it is possible for it to start in adulthood. It also tends to flare up instead of staying constant, so you can seem to be free of it for a long time only to have it return. There can be years between flare-ups, though flares often occur more frequently.
Working with a Dermatologist
If you’ve decided to see a professional about your eczema, there are some questions to ask a dermatologist to make sure you understand both the disease and how to treat it. Here are a few that you can write down or print out and take to your appointment:
- What is the best way to moisturize my skin? Moisturizing the skin is one of the most important parts of eczema treatment. See if your doctor has any ideas for getting the best results.
- Do I need special skin products? Some eczema sufferers swear by specific products that are made for sensitive skin, while others say that such items are wastes of money. If you don’t already have a preference, ask your doctor for suggestions and then see how well they work for you.
- Are there specific fabrics I should prefer or avoid? Some find that certain fabrics irritate their skin, or that they feel better if they wear a particular material. Asking your doctor for pointers can save you from expensive wardrobe mistakes.
- Are there foods that I should avoid? It seems that with any condition, people will believe that some food has to be given up. Check with your dermatologist to see if there is any science that says your eczema will be helped by eliminating specific foods.
- How can I exercise if sweating makes my eczema worse? Your doctor should be able to suggest ways to keep your skin dry in the important areas.
- What if I get an infection from scratching my skin? It is important to use the right medications, such as ointments, to treat infections in skin that is affected by eczema. Make sure to ask which ones won’t worsen the underlying problem.
- What if my symptoms don’t improve? It can take multiple tries to find the right treatments to help your symptoms. Therefore, your doctor should have some ideas for this “what-if” scenario. Some doctors may already have a set escalation protocol, while others will want to re-examine you and make suggestions based on the findings. Either way, he or she shouldn’t be stumped by the mention of this possibility.
- What can I do to reduce the chances of a flare-up? Different people may have different triggers for flare-ups, so one of the things your doctor will likely suggest is keeping track of what products you use and which activities you do before one happens. This will make it easier to fine-tune future suggestions for avoiding them. However, a dermatologist should also be able to provide general tips even on the first appointment, and these can help you avoid common causes of flare-ups right from the start.
To make an appointment with our dermatologist in Fresno, or to purchase eczema-friendly skin care products, just visit our site or contact us. We’re Valley Skin Institute in Fresno, California and we’re happy to help your skin get better.