Many people experience dry, itchy skin during the cold winter months. Eczema, which is most common in young children, can flare up during this time of year. Our expert gives tips on how to identify and treat this skin condition.
Eczema is a common skin condition for children. While only 1-3 percent of adults suffer from this itchy issue, up to 20 percent of children are affected. Most cases start in children who are 5 years old and younger. We talked to Katherine Manno, MD from Renown Dermatology, Laser & Skin Care about managing eczema.
Most cases of eczema that are diagnosed between two months and two years tend to improve with age. However, some children will experience symptoms throughout childhood and sometimes into adulthood. Occasionally, people will develop “adult onset” eczema even though they never demonstrated signs during childhood.
What is eczema?
Eczema varies in look and symptoms depending on age. There are three stages:
- Infantile (less than two years of age): A rash is typically seen on the cheeks, scalp, neck, outer elbows and top of the knees.
- Childhood (2-10 years): A rash is often seen in the elbow or knee creases and on the eyelids.
- Adolescent to adult: Rash is less characteristic in location, but commonly is seen over the hands, face and eyelids.
Cold, dry temperatures often make symptoms worse because both the outdoor weather and indoor heating systems can increase skin dryness. To help prevent flare-ups, use a non-cosmetic moisturizer on the skin to repair and protect any at-risk areas. Studies have shown that a daily application of moisturizer starting at three weeks of age may decrease the risk of infants developing eczema.
Dr. Manno recommends Eucerin Eczema Relief, Cerave Itch relief moisturizing cream, Aveeno Eczema Care, Aquafor Healing ointment or Cetaphil moisturizing cream. These products may help with itching and minimal redness, but if symptoms persist you should talk to a dermatologist about further treatment options.
Other tips for combating dry, itchy skin include avoiding hot baths or showers, using a humidifier and staying hydrated every day.
To learn more about Renown Dermatology, Laser and Skin Care, visit renown.org/dermatology.