Has your child been diagnosed with eczema? Characterized by flare-ups of dry, cracked, and reddened skin, eczema cannot be cured in either adults or children. However, it can be managed. Let’s look at what happens to skin impacted by this dermatologic problem and how something called ceramides can help control it.
Symptoms of Eczema
Eczema is a chronic skin condition which can severely impact a child’s quality of life. About 31 million Americans have eczema, or atopic dermatitis, and its symptoms include:
- Patches of dry, red, itchy skin on the hands, feet, backs of the knees and elbows
- Progression to areas of leathery skin
- Inflammation of the top layer of the skin (epidermis)
- Increased tendency to develop skin infections
- Sensitivity to allergic triggers such as fragrances, latex, soaps, cleaning products and synthetic fabrics
Also, researchers say that people with eczema lack sufficient amounts of a skin protein called filaggrin. This deficiency causes openings or holes in the skin which lead to the patchiness and cracks eczema is known for.
Can Ceramides Help Eczema?
Use of moisturizers containing lipids (fats) known as ceramides can reduce eczema symptoms. Eczema sufferers of all ages don’t have enough of this important lipid in the epidermis, or top layer, of their skin.
Ceramides lock in the natural moisture in the epidermis. When kids, teens and adults don’t have enough of this fatty substance in their skin, they are prone to eczema flares.
To counter this uncomfortable and unsightly dryness, dermatologists advise their patients to apply moisturizing creams and ointments with a high ceramide content. Many are available over the counter. Applied daily, and especially after a shower or bath, ceramide products augment the skin’s natural barrier to substances and environmental conditions and help the skin retain moisture. However, take care not to apply ceramide products to skin which is cracked, sore or infected.
Other Ways to Manage Eczema
Be proactive about your eczema/your child’s eczema. Be sure to know what triggers a flare-up and try to avoid those substances and circumstances whenever possible. Keeping a journal of symptoms can help pinpoint what causes them and how to avoid them.
Also, encourage warm water baths before bedtime, including a 10- to 15- minute soak. Wash with a skin cleanser which does not contain soap, and gently pat dry with a clean, soft, cotton towel. Apply moisturizer right away so it seals the moisture into the skin.
Finally, use any topical medications your healthcare provider recommends. Some young patients need small amounts of steroidal cream or ointment to reduce inflammation. Topical immunomodulators reduce the overactivity of the immune system, a characteristic of people with skin problems, allergies and asthma.
Eczema Treatment in Phoenix, AZ
At Happy Skin Pediatric Dermatology, pediatric nurse practitioner Samantha Casselman works closely with parents and children to identify triggers of eczema in children and to develop plans to manage symptoms successfully.
Please contact our office to arrange your in-office consultation and get your child some much-needed relief from eczema symptoms. Call (602) 837-3376, or request an appointment here. We look forward to treating your child’s skin so they can focus on being a kid!