Facial eczema is a common inflammatory condition of the skin on the face. Facial eczema can be especially distressing because it is so visible. Often it is the cheeks and forehead that are affected, or maybe the eyelids, but sometimes eczema affects the whole face. Other parts of the body, such as the flexures (folds) of the elbows and knees are often also affected. Typical symptoms of facial eczema include:
Facial eczema tends to get worse, because the itching – which can be hard to control – damages the skin, inviting further irritation and inflammation.
There are several types of eczema which may affect the face – important to know, as it may affect the way the condition is managed. These include:
Eczema on the face, whatever the cause, is certainly treatable. Patch sensitivity tests may be needed to find out what substances need to be avoided.
If you have eczema on the face, it is really important to use a moisturising eczema cream (or an ointment) to keep the skin from drying out which will help stop eczema from taking hold. Use these creams instead of soap and water to cleanse the skin and use regularly throughout the day to keep the skin moist.
Since inflammation is the hallmark of facial eczema (and eczema on other parts of the body), active treatment consists of an anti-inflammatory drug, which is usually a steroid. Mild steroid creams, such as those containing hydrocortisone, are available over the counter. Medium and potent, steroid creams need to be taken under the supervision of a dermatologist if they are to be used on the face. There are also topical immunosuppressants which can be used but these are expensive and generally regarded as a second-line treatment for facial eczema. If seborrhoeic eczema is the problem, then an anti-yeast medication, with or without steroids may be the solution.
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