Most people have heard that the skin is the largest organ of the body, but we may not be aware that it weighs, on average, 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms) and covers some 22 square feet (2 square meters). Our skin is made up of a complex system of cell layers, nerves and glands that not only protect us from the outside world, but connects us to it. Our skin acts as a waterproof, insulating shield, guarding our body against extremes of temperature, damaging sunlight and harmful chemicals. It also emits anti-bacterial substances that prevent infection and manufactures Vitamin D for converting calcium into healthy bones. Skin is also one big sensor packed with nerves for keeping the brain in touch with the outside world. Like when your skin starts to crawl at the sight of a spider web stretching across a doorway, or when you get that dance of sensation that comes from the sight of a loved one; our skin is constantly telling us about our surrounding environment. That environment becomes a bit more of a challenge as temperatures drop and the climate changes from the warm, moist days of summer into the colder and drier climes of autumn and winter, and for some of us, relief may not come from a simple bottle of moisturizer.
Eczema, characterized by dry, red, itchy patches, becomes very problematic when the air contains less moisture. Even slight dips in humidity and temperature can bring on a flare. And eczema is a 24/7 proposition which may affect multiple areas of the skin. If you have eczema, it's important to take preemptive steps to help your skin better survive winter. Dermatologists have long advised that conscientious moisturizing can help ameliorate the onset of an eczema flare. But that may be only half the equation. California dermatologist, Neal Bhatia, MD, explains that eczema has an inflammatory component and if you don't treat the inflammation, you may not get relief from even the best moisturizing routine. "The problem with eczema is that scratching brings instant relief, yet the moment you stop scratching, the itching intensifies. And, it knows no boundaries - you will itch while trying to fall alseep, while in a business meeting, while out on a date. The bigger problem is that scratching can become so intense that the skin develops fissures and infectious bacteria can enter; which can open doors to bacteria that will compound an already bad situation."
Dr. Bhatia explains that research has revealed that "when one has eczema there is an alteration in the skin that allows essential water to escape, allowing pollen, dust mites and bacteria to enter. The result is dry, itchy, inflamed patches. So, if you have ever had eczema, it is wise to have an 'escape route' planned out with a dermatologist. It will include things such as ceramide-rich creams, non-soap cleansing bars, fragrance-free laundry detergent and an anti-inflammatory prescription cream, such as Cloderm. Cloderm Cream has a unique molecule, clocortolone pivalate, which provides prompt and effective treatment with an excellent safety profile. It has been proven to provide significant relief of eczema symptoms, such as redness and itching, by the fourth day of treatment. Clocortolone pivalate dissolves into oils readily, enabling it to absorb into the skin. In multiple clinical studies, there were very few side effects, none of them serious. Importantly, there are no restrictions on patient age or duration of use, and Cloderm Cream may be applied on most areas of the body.
Dr. Bhatia explains eczema generally begins in early childhood and, despite the myth that one will outgrow it, many patients are affected as adults as well. Many allergists believe that eliminating eggs, dairy products, and nuts may bring relief for some people. A form of eczema that results from contact with an irritating substance may affect the hands, and people with hand eczema are advised to wear cotton-lined, waterproof gloves when washing dishes or working with irritating substances. Sweat can trigger an outbreak, so it is best to shower as soon as possible after a workout. Measures to reduce stress may also be helpful. And, the National Eczema Association says that being idle may lead to over-attention to itching. So, try to be active and involved to avoid having too much time to focus on itching and scratching.
For the beauty conscious among us, Dr. Bhatia suggests minimizing the use of unnecessary things on the face until the rash subsides and the itching goes down. So, for those who may suffer an unfortunate outbreak of eczema on the face, avoid makeup for the time being. Makeup doesn't interfere so much with Cloderm Cream, but it can with eczema. If the rash and itching doesn't improve in two weeks, get rechecked by your doctor as a cosmetic may actually be a source of the problem. He also states that there is very little concern of side effects from the short term use of Cloderm Cream, and there is no allergy potential, but he advises it is important to carefully follow your doctor's prescribing instructions.
Cloderm Cream, from Promius Pharma, is indicated for the relief of the inflammatory and pruritic manifestations of corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses, such as eczema. It is the only topical corticosteroid cream to offer a unique molecule, clorcortolone pivalate, which provides prompt and effective treatment with an excellent safety profile. It has been proven to provide significant relief of eczema symptoms, by the fourth day of treatment; symptoms such as redness, blisters, papules, plaques, scaling, crusting, fissures (breaks in the skin), and hardened or leathery skin. Cloderm Cream is available by prescription only. See a dermatologist if over-the-counter remedies do not resolve the condition.
Dr. Neal Bhatia, a board-certified dermatologist who graduated from medical school at the University of Wisconsin and trained in Internal Medicine and Dermatology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, spoke with health and beauty editors at a recent luncheon at Marea, on Central Park South, in New York City, on October 8th. He was joined by Eric Shenloogian, Senior Product Manager at Promius Pharma, to present a power point presentation and outline the benefits of Cloderm's unique molecule. Dr. Bhatia is in private practice in Long Beach, California and is Interim Program Director and Associate Clinical Professor at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Division of Dermatology. In addition to his involvement with several American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) committees, he was also appointed to fill in a one-year vacant term on the AAD Board of Directors in 2012. He will start his four-year term in 2014.