What's New in Eczema Treatment (Atopic Dermatitis)
Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is one of the most significant skin conditions worldwide, with itchy, persistent, and aggravating skin lesions on the arms, legs, back, chest, face, and neck. It tends to run in families, along with asthma, hay fever, and food allergies, and can develop in childhood or adulthood. It’s promoted by dryness of the skin, so the Autumn and Winter are “eczema season,” because many people get into flares of eczema, due to the more drying, cool weather.
The good news is that Dermatologists now have many new treatments at their disposal to help improve people’s skin, for both preventing flares of eczema, and controlling outbreaks.
First, it’s long been known that moisturizing the skin tends to cut down on flares of eczema. Helpful options include Cetaphil® Lotion, Eucerin® Cream and Lotion, and Cerave®.
My family of four Dermatologists started manufacturing a special Shea Butter moisturizer with an Alpha-Hydroxy Acid – Glycolic Acid – first discovered in pineapple and sugarcane – in the 1980s – and thousands of people in Tennessee have benefitted our GlycoShea™ Hand and Body Cream and GlycoShea™ Facial and Neck Cream. I became President of Big River Silk™ Skincare Inc. in 2016,manufacturer and nationwide distributor of the GlycoShea lines of moisturizers – with the added benefit that their Glycolic Acid smooths the appearance of fine lines in the skin – making them anti-wrinkle creams (www.Bigriversilkskincare.com; 1-901-753-0168).
Sometimes laboratory testing can help to achieve a cure for the itching of eczema. We Dermatologists consider taking a skin specimen to be tested by the lab (a skin biopsy). We also sometimes order what’s called allergy patch testing, to check for reactions to commons preservatives, fragrances, or components of latex.
The good news is that Dermatologists in 2020 now have several new eczema treatments to help reduce the itching, dryness, and rashes that come with eczema (atopic dermatitis). For years, we have used prescription topical (meaning “on top of” the skin) steroid creams and ointments. We also have non-steroid ointments – tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, as well as Atopiclair®. Now we also have a new steroid-free ointment based upon boron technology called Eucrisa Ointment. And we also have a biologic injectable medicine – Dupixent – working directly on the immune system and approved by the FDA down to age 6.
My own Dermatology practice is in Cordova, TN, a suburb of Memphis, TN (www.Rheumderm.com; 1-901-753-0168). And there are over 12,600 Dermatologists in the United States. To find one close to you, go to the American Academy of Dermatology website – AAD.org – then plug your zip code into the “Find a Dermatologist” tab.
The National Eczema Association (NEA.org) supports a helpful web site and offers health fairs periodically to raise awareness of the growing number of helpful mediations and treatments.
So if you or a family member suffers from eczema, do not itch in silence. Join the community of people with eczema by connecting.
George Woodbury Jr. M.D.
8143 Walnut Grove Road
Cordova TN 38018