This is the most memorable moment of the year! Pumpkin spice season, which means the weather has changed. Everything has changed, from the length of daylight to the humidity of the air. With those changes come a lot of different changes on your skin. Usually, during the winter months, people start to feel a little more itchy and a little drier. Is it a seasonal change or something more?

According to some reports, eczema or atopic dermatitis, known in the world of dermatology, affects up to 20% of people in the United States. Called pruritus rash, it can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. Typically, patients report dry, scaly, itchy, and sometimes wet areas on their face, arms, and legs.

People prone to eczema may have a family history of eczema, a personal history of asthma, hay fever or seasonal allergies, or maybe just a history of dry skin.

There are seven different types of eczema, and more than one can develop on the skin at the same time. Each type of eczema can form on the body due to its own causative agent and has different treatment requirements. For this reason, it’s important to consult a dermatologist to determine the specific type of eczema you may have.

So, what are some popular and easy ways to combat that squash season itch? Eczema has no cure, but there are treatments available to lessen the effects. Home remedies as well as prescription treatments can help reduce eczema flare-ups. You may need to try several treatment regimens before you find one that works for your skin and type of eczema.

Taking a warm bath for 5–10 minutes at the end of the day, patting the skin dry, then applying a generous amount of any moisturizer containing ceramides from the face down can cure up to 80% of eczema. .

When bathing or showering, it’s best to use a mild soap like Dove or a soap-free cleanser like Cetaphil. Try to avoid bathing with Ivory, Irish Spring, and Dial, as they tend to be very strong drying soaps. Soap-free cleansers are less likely to strip the good oils from your skin. These soaps are pH balanced so they are less irritating to the skin.

Moisturizing after showering allows the skin to stay hydrated by locking in moisture and preventing the skin from drying out. A popular over-the-counter product is CeraVe cream, which, as the name suggests, contains ceramides that are essential for the skin in patients with eczema. Ceramides help lock in moisture in the skin, helping to prevent dryness and irritation.

Another great over-the-counter tool is petroleum jelly or Vaseline, which can help keep water in the skin before it leaks out. When looking for products for bathing or moisturizing, always look for mild products that are fragrance and/or fragrance-free, as these can further irritate the skin. Soap, bath routine, and moisturizer are at the core of good skin care. In general, the thicker the moisturizer and the longer it stays on the skin, the more effective it is.

In addition to the steps above, incorporating over-the-counter medications for eczema may also help relieve symptoms. Over-the-counter products such as antihistamines and pain relievers can relieve symptoms such as itching, redness, inflammation, irritation, and rashes. Topical hydrocortisone is a low-potency steroid that works on the skin to provide temporary relief of itching and rashes caused by most types of eczema.

When these simple at-home steps don’t work, it may be time to see your local dermatologist for additional prescription treatment.

Dermatology Partners has 22 locations throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware. Our dermatologists are specialists in a wide range of skin, hair, and nail diseases and specialize in the detection and treatment of skin cancer. To schedule an appointment including your annual skin cancer screening, contact (888) 895-3376. Visit our website www.dermpartners.com to find the location closest to you.

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