Though Kerry Washington is most known for her role in ‘Scandal’, she started acting at a young age. While she was a teenager, the future actress performed with the TADA! Youth Theater teen group. Her first venture to the television screen was a commercial in 1994. After that, Washington acted in several noteworthy movies including ‘The Last King of Scotland’ and ‘Django Unchained’. Yet, she didn’t become a household name until 2012 when she starred as Olivia Pope in ‘Scandal’.
That role also led to nominations for the NAACP, Golden Globe, and Emmy awards. Since the show ended in 2018, Washington has gone on to star in other television shows and movies. She has also had some success in directing and producing.
Despite her active career, she has always made time for activism such as speaking out about violence against women. Still, many people found her most relatable when she revealed in 2019 that she has had eczema since childhood.
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What Is Eczema?
Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It’s a chronic skin condition in which the skin no longer produces moisture that’s needed to keep away irritants, bacteria, and allergens. As a result, your skin might get red and itchy easily.
There are also periods of flares where the symptoms get worse because you’ve been exposed to an irritant, food allergens, or are under stress. Some other symptoms you may experience include swollen skin, raised bumps that leak fluid or scab over when scratched, and red to brown-gray patches of skin all over the body.
Though anyone can develop eczema, research shows that Blacks tend to be at a higher risk. You’re also more likely to have the condition if there’s a family history of it or you have allergies, asthma, or hay fever. Eczema is often found in children but can occur at any age.
How The Disease Is Diagnosed
Diagnosing this chronic skin condition typically entails a thorough medical examination. The doctor will ask about your medical history as well as the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. When discussing your skin, bear in mind that you might not have all the symptoms at once.
Eczema can also look different for Black people. While those with lighter skin might have red patches, Blacks are more likely to see areas that are dark brown, purple, or ash gray. Even if the color is different, however, other signs of eczema like swollen and itchy skin can help your diagnosis. Black people are also more likely to have rashes around their hair follicles and dark circles around their eyes.
While no tests are required to confirm that you have eczema, some doctors may request them to ensure that no other conditions are causing the symptoms. These tests can vary but commonly include blood or skin patch tests.
How Eczema Is Treated
Though eczema can’t be cured, the chronic condition can be managed. The first option your doctor will try is topical creams that are meant to control the itchiness while repairing damaged skin. These can include corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors.
Since the condition also leaves you open to skin infections, you may need to take antibiotics as well.
If the topical creams aren’t effective, the next step will be oral corticosteroids.
In severe cases, you may be prescribed a biologic. It can also take some time to determine which medical regimen works for you.
Even when your eczema is carefully controlled, though, you can still have flares because of triggers. People can supplement their medication by ensuring that they avoid triggers and keep their skin moisturized. It’s also important to let your doctor know if the current medications aren’t working as well as they used to.
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It can be tricky for Blacks to get their eczema diagnosed but once you know what you’re dealing with, it’s possible to get the right medications to manage it. You’ll also need to learn the kinds of lifestyle changes that will reduce the likelihood of flares.