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Treating Eczema in the Summer Requires Understanding It

treating eczemaIf you are one of the millions of people who suffer from eczema, summer is often a welcome respite from the chronic skin condition. The warmer and more humid months mixed with exposure to more sunlight is typically a formula that is kind to our patients with eczema. And although summer may offer relief for some of the 15 million eczema sufferers in the U.S., others may dread stepping out in a bathing suit with their condition. Children with the red, scaly patches on their skin may get teased and tormented. Also, the chlorine in a swimming in a pool may actually worsen the condition. So the question is how to properly treat eczema in the summertime--or any time of year for that matter. An article in today's New York Times takes a closer look at the effect eczema has on the skin and offers some tips on how to treat it. Eczema, medically referred to as "atopic dermatitis," afflicts between 15 to 30 percent of children and two to ten percent of adults. The paper reports: "Eczema is more common among children living in cities than those in rural areas. According to the so-called hygiene hypothesis, exposure to infectious agents early in life offers protection against allergic diseases. The more hygienic a child’s environment, the greater the risk." Who will become afflicted with eczema? Genetics certainly play a role. "In identical twins, 77 percent will both have eczema, but it occurs in both fraternal twins only 15 percent of the time. Another indication is the fact that people with celiac disease (a gluten intolerance) are three times more likely to have eczema; relatives of celiac patients are twice as likely to have eczema," reports the Times. The skin of those with eczema has a difficult time retaining essential water, resulting in those dry, red and itchy patches of skin. If you want to know how to treat eczema, sometimes it's as simple as cutting out any skincare products containing potential allergens, such as fragrances. Other times it requires a topical prescription steroid. It's important to use an over the counter moisturizer all over the body, applied directly after the shower or after washing your face to trap moisture.
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Schweiger Dermatology

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