How do I get rid of atopic dermatitis on my face?

Atopic dermatitis and your skin

A lot of people are living with eczema, and it impacts everyone differently. Some experience minor flare-ups, like having mild to moderate itchy patches of skin, while others get flare-ups with severe itching, dryness, or oozing and bleeding of the afflicted area. When eczema appears on your face, the skin can get red, blotchy, itchy, and flaky. If you scratch your face vigorously, the skin could get infected, thicker, darker, or even get scared. Although there’s no cure for eczema, there are plenty of treatments to make living with this condition more tolerable.

What is atopic facial dermatitis?

A look at facial eczema

Needless to say, atopic dermatitis, aka eczema, isn’t fun in any form. But, when a skin ailment characterized by getting red, itchy blisters on your face, of all the places, it makes it all the more frustrating and harder to ignore. While there is no study assessing the prevalence of facial dermatitis, specifically, but it affects a lot of people. Much like acne, having eczema on your face is painful and can also affect your confidence because as we’ve been conditioned to believe skin flaws are something to hide and feel ashamed of which is not true.

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What exactly constitutes facial eczema?

Eczema is the term that refers to a group of conditions that can cause itchy, red, and inflamed skin. There are several kinds of eczema like atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis. This disease can appear anywhere on the body, but it can be particularly uncomfortable, painful, and itchy when it pops up on the face. Doctors are uncertain as to what exactly causes eczema, but some factors seem to contribute its potential development. They include:

  1. A family history of eczema – If any of your kin has it, you are likely to get it as well.
  2. Being diagnosed with asthma or other allergies – If you have asthma or allergies your chances of getting eczema exponentially increase. Food allergies to foods like eggs, milk, fish, wheat, and peanuts can cause flare-ups.
  3. Having autoimmune diseases – If you have autoimmune problems, you are at a higher risk of developing eczema, though people with normally functioning immune systems can also get the skin condition as well.
  4. Your geographical location – Eczema is more widespread in people living in the northern hemisphere, metropolitan areas, or places with high pollution.
  5. Your age – It’s more common to see eczema on babies or small children – especially facial eczema. Many eventually outgrow the condition, but this condition can continue well into adulthood and affect people of all ages.
  6. Using harsh soaps – Atopic dermatitis can worsen when the skin comes into contact with irritating substances like harsh soaps. Scratching can also promote bacterial infections that require treatment.

What are the signs of facial atopic dermatitis?

In infancy symptoms include:

  • Red, itchy dry sections of skin.
  • Rashes on the cheeks that often start at 2 to 6 months of age.
  • Rashes ooze when scratched. This can be exasperated by scratching. 

In teenagers and early adulthood:

  • Rashes can also appear on creases of hands, elbows, wrists, and knees, and sometimes on the feet, ankles, and neck
  • Dry, scaly, brownish-gray rashes on the face
  • Thickened skin patches with scarring.
  • Rashes may bleed and crust after scratching incessantly

How is facial atopic dermatitis treated?

Photo on eucerin.sg

Atopic dermatitis is a lifelong condition, which means that it cannot be cured. Treating the symptoms is very effective in reducing the itching and skin dryness. A healthcare provider can prescribe lotions and oral medications. These treatments include corticosteroid creams and antihistamines. Follow the instructions for using the medications carefully.

Flare-up prevention tips

  1. Avoid taking long, hot baths, which can cause the skin to be dry. Use lukewarm water instead.
  2. Apply a moisturizing lotion immediately after washing your face while the skin is still moist. This will trap moisture in the skin.
  3. Variations in room temperature and humidity can dry the skin.
  4. Avoid wearing hats or scarves made of fabrics that can irritate your skin.
  5. Use mild laundry soap and ensure that clothing is well rinsed. This includes your clothes, beddings, etc.
  6. Watch out for skin infections that can pop up on your face. Talk your healthcare provider if you see signs an infection.
  7. Avoid rubbing or scratching the rash as it can break the skin and cause infections.
  8. Use moisturizers several times a day. In infants, with facial atopic dermatitis, moisturizing regularly is extremely helpful.

How to keep symptoms at bay

Although there isn’t a cure for atopic eczema, most people can manage their disease with medical treatment and by avoiding known triggers. This condition isn’t contagious and cannot be spread from person to person. Some general triggers, which can lead to an outbreak of eczema include:

  • Environmental irritants and allergens.
  • Stress
  • Outside temperatures – heat or cold can cause sweating and dryness which can worsen eczema.
  • Hormone fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.

How do I know if I have facial eczema?

One of the most difficult aspects of facial eczema is determining whether you have dermatitis. Your dry or irritated skin can be due to an adverse reaction to either a product you’re using, harsh weather conditions, and other common factors that impact skin health. It is hard to distinguish between skin dryness and eczema as skin affected by eczema is dry and irritated, but dry skin is not irritated and itchy as that affected by eczema and readily responds to moisturizers, gentle skin care. Unlike the mild flaking, dullness, and tightness linked with dry skin, facial eczema causes intense itchiness, cracked skin, and bleeding. If you’re still stumped, or you want a second opinion, visit a dermatologist.

Should facial eczema be treated differently than body eczema?

Yes. It is recommended to use milder products (especially steroids) on your face, as the skin is thinner and more sensitive than that on your body. Use eczema skin-care products meant for the face and body respectively as they have different concentrations of active ingredients.Using weaker topical steroids like pimecrolimus, tacrolimus is advised as facial skin is more prone to skin the thinning and lightening effects of topical steroids.

What over-the-counter products can be applied?

There are many treatment options for facial eczema. To ease eczema symptoms try using over the counter medications like: For itching and redness, Try applying 1% hydrocortisone cream. These creams, however, are meant for short-term use as prolonged application can cause thinning of the skin.  Be sure to apply products made specifically for the face or milder versions of these treatments and always speak to a doctor before using any of these treatments. 

What should I do if OTC products aren’t cutting it?

Sadly, eczema on the face can prove extremely stubborn. If OTC and home remedies don’t work, you may need to consult a doctor to consider other treatment options like immunosuppressants and biologic medications. Doctors sometimes prescribe specialized moisturizers, called barrier repair creams. And, if the eczema is extremely severe and non-responsive to topical treatments try other treatments like phototherapy, (aka light therapy). There are many treatment options for facial eczema, so it ultimately comes down to trial and error, to figure out what can work for you and always consult your dermatologist before trying any new treatments.

How to cope with facial atopic dermatitis

  1. Use a gentle facial cleanser – Soaps can be harsh and drying on your skin, worsening eczema. Instead, use a mild, non-soap cleanser.
  2. Wash your face and shower with some lukewarm water – Hot showers can trigger eczema in some people. To lessen the risk of getting eczema due to the heat.
  3. Keep your skin hydrated with a good moisturizer – fight dryness with constant moisturizing. Look for products that are dye and fragrance-free to decrease your chances of irritation.
  4. Be mindful of the sun – too much sun exposure can cause a flare-up. Sun Blocking products that have zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are easily tolerated by sensitive skin, although they can leave a white tint on the skin. When spending time outdoors, cleanse, moisturize and apply sunblock.
  5. Use cosmetics containing moisturizing ingredients – Having facial eczema does not mean you can never wear makeup, but all products are not made equal and when it comes to what you can put on your skin you have to be picky. Look for products containing hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and shea butter and avoid ingredients like parabens, salicylic and glycolic acids, fragrances, and retinol. 

Treatment of facial eczema

Eczema can’t be cured, but symptoms come and go. With the assistance of your doctor, you can control and ease the symptoms when eczema flares up.

  • Steroid creams. These are an important part of eczema treatment. OTC hydrocortisone cream can help with redness and itchiness. Apply it one or two times a day for several weeks. If that does not work, you may require a stronger prescription steroid. Use this steroidal cream for a short while because it can cause skin thinning.
  • Calcineurin inhibitors. Your doctor can give these instead of a steroid cream. These creams and ointments prevent chemicals that can make your eczema flare. They’re used particularly for facial eczema like on your eyelids, neck, and skin folds.
  • Check for fungus. Your physician may prescribe anti-yeast ointments or creams if your eczema triggered by a fungal infection. High levels of one type of yeast normally found on the skin can be present on persons with atopic eczema.
  • Phototherapy (ultraviolet light therapy). It uses a device to emit ultraviolet B light (also known as UVB) onto the skin, which decreases itching and inflammation, enhance the production of vitamin D, and boost the body’s natural ability to fight bacteria on the skin. This can help if your eczema is medium to severe and creams haven’t worked. Keep in mind that the use of this type of treatment for long periods can raise your chances for skin cancer.

How to tighten skin?

To make our skin tighter, eat healthily, exfoliate your skin, limit UV exposure, and use

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