Dermatology expert emphasizes impact of eczema on skin health

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KUWAIT CITY, June 19: According to Dr. Muhammad Al-Adwani, a dermatologist, skin serves as the body’s primary defense against external threats like bacteria and viruses, making its integrity crucial, reports Al-Qabas daily. Conditions such as eczema can compromise this defense, manifesting in symptoms like skin dryness, cracking, peeling, and inflammation, which not only affect physical health but also impact psychological well-being significantly.

As summer approaches and temperatures rise, eczema patients often experience exacerbations of their condition, including heightened redness, itching, and susceptibility to infections. Dr. Al-Adwani highlighted that eczema ranks among the most common skin disorders, often worsening in summer due to heat and inadequate hydration. Severe cases of eczema can lead to skin barrier damage, reducing its ability to protect against microbial invaders.

Despite its physical symptoms, Dr. Al-Adwani emphasized that eczema’s psychological toll can sometimes be more severe than its physical effects. However, he reassured that eczema is manageable through effective treatment, which can alleviate symptoms such as itching, bacterial or fungal infections, and skin redness. Eczema is characterized by red, itchy, dry, and inflamed skin, affecting individuals across all age groups but particularly prevalent among children.

Its severity can be exacerbated by dry skin conditions, which are exacerbated during summer due to factors such as increased sweating and exposure to chlorine in swimming pools. Moreover, indoor environments with air conditioning can worsen symptoms by drying out the skin further. The exact cause of eczema remains unknown, though it is associated with immune system dysfunction, weakening the skin’s natural defenses against environmental allergens and irritants. Genetic factors also play a role in predisposing individuals to the condition.

In conclusion, while eczema poses challenges to both physical comfort and psychological well-being, comprehensive management strategies can effectively control symptoms and improve quality of life for affected individuals. Dr. Al-Adwani explained that eczema appears at any age and is not limited to a certain age group, but it affects children more. He stated that it is not a contagious disease as some people think, and he mentioned that there are several types of eczema, including:

■ Endogenous eczema (atopic eczema is more common)
■ Exogenous eczema (contact)
■ Cholestatic eczema (varicose veins – varicose eczema)
■ Stasis dermatitis (congestion eczema – gravitational dermatitis – gravitational eczema)
■ Seborrheic eczema

He explained that the severity of eczema ranges from mild to severe and varies greatly from one person to another. The most prominent symptoms are skin dryness, redness and irritation of the skin, severe itching, skin color change, rough spots or crusts appearing on the skin, and swelling of some areas.

A person with eczema may suffer from the following complications: Neurodermatitis, a disorder caused by severe skin itching that causes the skin to thicken and change color; viral or bacterial skin infections resulting from ulcers and skin wounds, especially when scratched severely and psychological complications of the disease, such as depression and anxiety disorders, are very tiring and reduce the patient’s quality of life, so it is necessary to follow up with a dermatologist and seek medical care.

Dr. Muhammad Al-Adwani outlined various treatment approaches for eczema, tailored to the severity of the condition and the patient’s specific needs. For mild to moderate cases, topical ointments are commonly prescribed to soothe and heal affected areas of the skin. In more severe instances, where eczema significantly impacts the patient’s quality of life, treatment options may include biological therapies administered via injections. Dr. Al-Adwani noted that biological injections have shown excellent results in managing severe eczema.

In addition to topical and biological treatments, alternative therapies such as anti-allergic medications (like antihistamines) are used to alleviate itching, a common symptom of eczema. If a bacterial infection complicates the eczema, antibacterial ointments may also be prescribed to address the infection and prevent further complications. Dr. Al-Adwani emphasized the critical role of hydration in eczema treatment, highlighting its importance as a fundamental aspect of recovery and long-term management of the condition. Proper hydration helps restore and maintain the skin barrier, which is crucial for protecting against irritants and maintaining overall skin health.

Dr. Al-Adwani provided important tips for eczema patients to prevent complications and effectively manage their symptoms: Regular Dermatologist Visits – Ensure regular appointments with a specialist dermatologist to monitor the condition and adhere to the treatment plan. This helps improve treatment outcomes and prevents worsening of the condition. Avoid Irritants – Stay away from potential triggers such as clothing made from wool and direct use of aromatic substances on the skin, which can exacerbate eczema and increase its severity. Moisturize Frequently – Apply moisturizer to the skin three to four times daily to maintain hydration and protect against dryness. Dry skin aggravates eczema symptoms, so consistent moisturization is crucial.

Use Gentle Soap – Use mild, chemical-free soap for hand and body washing to avoid further irritation to sensitive skin affected by eczema. Apply Sunscreen – Protect the skin from sun damage by applying sunscreen with a high SPF (protection factor) of at least 50 percent, as ultraviolet rays can worsen eczema symptoms. Avoid Allergens – Identify and avoid allergens that trigger eczema, such as certain foods (especially those high in sugars), animal dander, and pollen. Bathe Wisely – Take lukewarm baths instead of hot showers, and limit bathing time to prevent drying out the skin, which can aggravate eczema. Avoid Temperature Changes – Rapid changes in temperature can trigger eczema flare-ups, so try to maintain a consistent environment and avoid sudden exposure to extreme temperatures.

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