KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Allergies aren’t the only things that can turn Spring into weeks of misery.
It’s time to take some extra steps to protect the largest organ in the human body as the weather begins to get warmer.
As temperatures increase, we begin to sweat more. Doctors say can cause a problem.
“The moisture that aggregates over the surface of the skin can precipitate some eczema flares,” Dr. Mattew Fink, MD, Dermatologist at University Health, said.
Eczema is a term for skin that is swelling. It normally causes dry, itchy skin and rashes. Because it involves moisture, it is normally found on the face, inside the elbows, behind the knees and on the hands or feet.
Scratching an area of skin already irritated by eczema can turn it red and itch even more.
According to Fink, eczema is the most common rash that impacts people who don’t have a previous skin condition. It is also an incredibly common issue when season change significantly, so from winter to spring or summer to fall.
Treating a mild case of eczema can be simple, while more severe cases may involve a trip to a doctor.
“When eczema is mild, the best thing to do is just to moisturize aggressively. Most of the time as easy as that,” Fink said.
While any lotion will likely help, there are certainly some that are better than others, according to Fink.
"I always tell patients if it comes in a jar, awesome. If it comes in a pump bottle, you know, if you like those products, you're fine. Don't let me dissuade you from using them because there is some value, but maybe not quite as much as like a Vaseline or a Cetaphil. Those thicker sorts of emollient kinds of agents that maybe leave your skin feeling just a little bit greasy," Fink said. Doctors suggest moisturizing a lot for a couple of days. If the eczema doesn't get better, it may be time to take another step. "There's some other things to do as well, including over-the-counter corticosteroid. So just cortisone, ten hydrocortisone, and you can simply go to your CVS or Walgreens or your Walmart Costco and pick those up right off the aisle," Fink said.
Don't worry about combining the corticosteroid with a moisturizer or lotion. "Typically, you put the cortisone on first and then the moisturizer over top of that makes a big difference," Fink said. Fink warns while you can use cortisone products on certain areas of your face, you do not want to over use the cream. "You want to be a little bit more conservative, cortisone products used over time, long durations of time daily can cause some challenges with discoloration and some skin thinning on the face. But typically, like, if you're just, you know, episodically, you have challenge with some eczema using a little bit of cortisone here and there is okay," Fink said. People suffering from more chronic eczema may notice scaly skin, or skin that becomes thicker in the affected area. It also becomes more of a problem as we age. Fink says the more you do now to prevent and treat the issue, the better you'll be later. "As your skin gets older, you struggle to retain moisture. And so it's that lack of moisture in the skin that really does create some problems with the development of eczema. And so moisturize, moisturize, moisturize some more," Fink said.