Eczema, although often associated with infants and young children, is actually a lifelong affliction. The dry skin, rashes, and irritations are sometimes caused by external irritants, such as an allergic reaction, but more often there is no known cause. Young children tend to get outbreaks on their face and bodies, with many outgrowing the condition for the most part by their teen years. For some teens, though, eczema remains a major concern. While not dangerous, the rashes are irritating and their appearance can affect self esteem. The following tips can help your teen cope and treat their eczema.
Tip #1: Shower Wisely
Eczema is first and foremost a dry skin condition. This means there should be no overly long, hot showers. If your teen plays sports and needs to shower multiple times a day, remind them to opt for short showers with warm water. Moisturizing with after each shower is also a must, no matter how much of a hurry the teen is in. Talk to your teen's dermatologist for recommendations on soaps that won't dry the skin. They may also prescribe a specific moisturizer to help prevent the skin from drying out.
Tip #2: Watch the Acne Medications
Hormone and body chemistry changes means that few teens escape puberty without a few pimples. Your teen is likely tempted to try over-the-counter remedies. Many of these remedies are designed to dry out the skin to cut down on oiliness and acne. Products that dry can make eczema outbreaks occur. If your teen has severe acne or is concerned about their pimples, a prescription pimple treatment that is formulated for sensitive or dry skins is preferable to the general purpose drug store remedies.
Tip #3: Monitor the Itch
An irritating itch can have a major impact on your teen's life. Excessive scratching can be embarrassing, it can lead to bleeding, and it can cause scarring. Itching can also be a distraction in class or it may interrupt sleep. Watch for scaling, irritation, and itching in common eczema areas. This includes behind the elbows and knees, between fingers, and on the scalp, and along the hairline. Your dermatologist can prescribe a topical steroid to help control the itch. This, combined with the right over-the-counter or prescription moisturizing creams, can keep the eczema under control.
Tip #4: Advise Against UV Self Treatment
Teens sometimes notice that their eczema seems to decline when they are spending a lot of time in the sun. This is because UV light can dry rashes so they aren't as irritating. This can lead some teens to begin skipping sunscreen or visiting self tanning beds. While this may seem like a viable short-term solution, your teen needs to know the long term skin cancer risk associated with this type of treatment. Instead, talk to a doctor that provides dermatology services in your area to come up with the best treatment plan possible.