Eczema is a group of conditions that cause inflammation (or rash) of the skin. There are seven different types of Eczema, each with several different identifying names and each with a variety of symptoms and different triggers (or causes). None of the different types of eczema are contagious, and regardless of the type of eczema, the physical appearance often looks different on different people. There is no known cure for eczema and their lots of different ideas on how to treat eczema depending on the severity and type.
Atopic Dermatitis (or eczema) is the most common type in infants, many of whom outgrow it (approximately 60%) before adulthood. Typically, eczema causes the skin to become itchy, red, and dry -- even cracked and leathery over time. Eczema can be very uncomfortable, typified by an urge to itch. Scratching the skin can begin a vicious itch-scratch cycle. Reckless scratching an affected area can cause further inflammation and the eczema rash can start to bleed and even become infected. Eczema can appear on any part of the body including around the eyes, on the head, feet, hands, all over the body, around the genitals and on backs (or creases) of the elbow and/or knees. If you suspect your child has eczema it is highly recommended that you seek the professional medical advice of a pediatrician who can typically treat most mild and some moderate eczema conditions or a board-certified dermatologist for moderate to severe eczema conditions.
Figure 1: Eczema (or Dermatitis) Behind the Elbow
Figure 2: Eczema (or Atopic Dermatitis) in the Creases Behind the Knees
One of the most common places on the body for Atopic Dermatitis to appear is on the backs of elbows and/or behind knees in an area called the creases. The creases of elbows and knees are susceptible to eczema related irritation because this is where sweat and salt build-up and skin rubs against skin. Anything that causes sweating can irritate the rash and these two areas of the body are prone to perspiration, even in infants. Also, the friction from clothing and other trapped irritants can further irritate this area and foster the persistence of Atopic Dermatitis.
Eczema behind elbows and eczema behind knees can be especially challenging since they are easy areas to scratch, and therefore eczema in these areas of the body can become easily inflamed, and persistent scratching can damage sensitive skin, making it more prone to infection and further complications including life-long scarring.
Eczema Tip: Keep fingernails cut short and smooth to prevent skin damage. Cover fingers during sleep to prevent scratching.
Untreated, Dermatitis behind elbows and dermatitis behind knees in the creases cause almost constant discomfort whenever the arm or leg bends during regular activities. Further, the friction from harsh clothing material against the sensitive skin in these areas will increase the intensity of the urge to itch and can be a major distraction during the day or a problem at night going to sleep. Eczema on the elbows and knees should be treated as soon as it is identified and regularly thereafter until the rash disappears to prevent further irritation and pain.
Clean Eczema Skin Rash: Gently wash the irritated area with purified lukewarm water and a soft, clean cotton cloth. A Hypochlorous solution like SkinSmart Antimicrobial® can be an excellent way to initially treat the rash and minimize the urge to scratch the itch. It’s mild, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and eliminates harmful bacteria that can lead to infections.
Moisturize the Irritated Skin: Carefully rub a generous amount of a high-quality moisturizer like Vaniply® from Pharmaceutical Specialties, Inc. into the irritated areas. Vaniply is a mild and gentle ointment that helps soothe dry, irritated, itchy skin without a greasy feel. Vaniply will help prevent water loss, relieve and prevent dry, chapped, and cracked skin.
Eczema Dry Wrap Bandage or Wet Wrap Therapy: Cover the irritated area with a special bandage, either as a dry wrap therapy or wet wrap therapy that will not only protect the affected areas from further irritation and damage but also increase the efficacy of the moisturizing ointment that has just been applied. Because the elbows and knees are joints and need to free to move they can be difficult to properly and comfortably cover. Specialty garments made from TEWLTect™ a highly breathable cooling fabric holds 50% of its weight in water without feeling damp is made from TENCEL® an eco-friendly, sustainable fiber enhanced with Chitosan and Zinc Oxide that helps control bacteria growth and speed the skins healing process from Soothems are recommended by dermatologist as being more effective than cotton or silk for treating eczema. The Soothems specially designed eczema therapy arm & leg sleeves are tapered to fit the limb and are therefore an excellent way to wrap these hard to cover areas comfortably. They can be used dry or wet under regular clothes.
This process should be repeated at least twice a day and for as long as the skin irritation is visible. If the condition does not start visibly getting better or discomfort and itching persist consult your healthcare professional immediately.Eczema Tip: Use special eczema therapy arm and leg sleeves
Wet wrapping therapy is a highly effective method for delivery itch relief quickly. You should always consult your advising medical professional before attempting a wet wrap.
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