Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked and rough. It affects roughly 1 in 10 Singaporeans at some point in their life, and can occur in all age groups. The specific cause of eczema remains unknown, but it is believed to develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Common triggers of eczema include soaps, detergents, dust mites, hot weather, perspiration and certain foods such as nuts and dairy.
Treatment of eczema focuses on healing damaged skin and alleviating symptoms. There are numerous things an individual can do to achieve the above, these include; applying moisturizer within 3 minutes of bathing to “lock in “moisture, moisturizing every day, wearing cotton and soft fabrics, using mild soap or a non-soap cleanser when washing, learning individual eczema triggers and avoiding them etc.
Medications that a doctor can prescribe include anti-inflammatories like topical corticosteroids and ointments, antihistamines for itch and medications for infections if present. Although eczema is currently not curable, it is controllable. Treatment plans will depend on an individual’s age, symptoms, and current state of health.