What can I do about chronic eczema that’s now involving my face too?

I\'m 28 years-old and have battled eczema since birth, mostly on my hands, the crook of my elbows, and behind my knees. Within the past few years, the eczema has appeared on my face, neck, and ears. I\'ve been using a hydrocortisone cream, which helps a lot, but I\'m worried about the long-term consequences of using such a product several times a day, especially on my face. Is there a cortisone-free product (OTC or Rx) that will do the job? Also, I\'m wondering if my shampoo could be causing/exacerbating my facial eczema. I\'ve heard sodium lauryl sulfates are rather sketchy. Is there a SLS-free shampoo you recommend? Thanks!!!

You didn’t tell me if you’ve been seeing a dermatologist?   Please, please, please  get thee to one right away if you haven’t.  And yes, over time, the chronic steriod use (even hydrocortisone) is not good for your skin and, you may actually have beccome allergic to it! You also may have a chronic staph infection on your skin.

When you call for your appointment, tell the front desk coordinator how bad you are feeling and she may be able to get you in sooner.  Also, make sure that the office does “patch testing” for allergies.  I am just guessing that you may have become allergic to a number chemicals in all sorts of skin lotions, creams, soaps, shampoos, other hair products, etc.  Patch testing is a different kind of allergy testing than the type done by allergist with tiny needles.  You may need both types of testing.

While you are waiting to get in, go to AAD.org the site for the American Academy of Dermatology and read up on eczema.  Also look up, and buy online if you can, the “Free and Clear” line – Vanicream is one of their products.  It is a group of inexpensive products made specifically for people suffering from eczema.  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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