Eczema is a common skin condition, so you may know of someone who has eczema, or that you yourself have experienced eczema. Read on to find out more about this condition, and the things you should be mindful of if you have eczema.
1. What is eczema?
Eczema is a condition whereby the skin becomes dry, terribly itchy and irritated. The area affected may become scaly and thickened, and it usually occurs on the scalp, face, front of the knees, back of the elbows, neck, wrists, legs, ankles and between butt cheeks. In some cases, the skin may develop light brown crust or blisters with pus.
Because the affected skin becomes intensely itchy, people with eczema usually find it really hard to restrain from scratching. This may lead to a vicious cycle whereby the initial itch prompts the victim to scratch, and he/she finds that they are unable to stop thereafter. Scratching is detrimental to the conditions of eczema as it causes tears in the skin barrier and may lead to inflammation. This makes the affected area even itchier.
In addition, excessive scratching of the affected area may result in eczema scarring that may be hard to diminish.
3. What to look out for?
When it comes to applying products to skin that’s prone to eczema, loads of attention must be placed on the ingredients of the products. The safest way is to only use products that are meant for sensitive skin. Stay away from products that contain ingredients that can weaken the skin barrier, as well as preservative ingredients such as:
- glycolic acid
- salicylic acid
In addition to these, always stay away from products with fragrance, which can irritate the skin.
Some people who have eczema may also develop sensitivities or allergies to certain foods, such as milk and nuts. It is important to know the food allergies you may possess, so you don’t accidentally trigger the condition.
In addition, eczema can be passed down to subsequent generations through genes.
4. What should I do?
Photo: Natural Body Care
The first thing to remember about eczema is that your skin is seriously dehydrated and require intense moisturizing. Grab a bottle of fragrance-free intense moisturizer that’s appropriate for sensitive skin. Make it a point to moisturize your skin at least 3 times a day, especially after a shower when the skin is still damp. This allows the moisturizer to penetrate deeply into the skin and lock in the moisture. Also, avoid spending too much time (maximum 10 minutes) in the shower, as this can dehydrate your dry skin. Do not scrub your skin with body scrubs or bath sponges.
In addition, your sensitive skin may be affected by the laundry detergent you use. Opt for a hypoallergenic detergent that is free of dyes, fragrances, and other irritating ingredients. Avoid fabric softeners as they are rich in fragrances.
Your mental health affects your skin condition as well. Try to minimize your stress levels, and make a conscious effort to not scratch the affected areas when you are frustrated with work.
5. Is eczema contagious?
Eczema in it’s most common form (atopic dermatitis) isn’t contagious. However, if the affected skin becomes infected, the infecting agent may be contagious. While it isn’t contagious between person to person, it can spread to various body parts of the person with eczema.
6. Seek help
If you notice your skin becoming extremely dehydrated and you’re having a hard time fighting off the urge to scratch the affected areas, it is highly advisable for you to seek help from your doctor. Do not delay treatment, especially when you notice your skin becoming crusty and developing blisters.
Cover Image: Iatropedia.gr