Eczema or atopic dermatitis is one of the most common skin diseases in the world. In Australia alone, it affects at least 33% of the children and over a million Aussies.
Still, it remains to be one of the difficult-to-manage conditions. A significant part of that is the lack of information about the disease. Here are five things you have to learn about eczema:
1. “Eczema” Is a Broad Term
Different types of eczema exist, and they can manifest in many ways. For example, contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes in contact with an allergen or irritant, such as a personal care product or detergent.
You might also develop dyshidrotic eczema, which forms on the hands. Discoid eczema, meanwhile, refers to round plaques on different parts of the body.
Although it is more common during childhood, some people can have adult-onset dermatitis. Others can experience periods of remission and flare-ups throughout their lives.
2. It Is Hard to Diagnose and Treat
When it comes to eczema, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every person can have a treatment program. In some cases, they would have to go through multiple trial and errors before they can figure out how to manage the chronic skin condition.
Nevertheless, experts share some gold standards. For example, moisturizing is a must. Dry skin exacerbates the condition. Moisturizing can also help restore the skin’s barrier, which protects your body from irritants.
When buying skincare products online for eczema-prone skin, look for those that are mild and hypoallergenic, as well as soothing. The disease can lead to severe itching.
3. It Can Be Genetic
Eczema is part of a triad that includes asthma and allergic rhinitis. Many with dermatitis have one or both of these conditions. But even if you don’t, you are likely prone to develop eczema if one of your direct relatives has them.
4. Steroids Aren’t Always the Answer
Steroids are usually part of the eczema treatment plan, especially if it already involves inflammation. Long-term use of these products, however, can do more harm than good.
They can lead to thinning of the skin, which makes you more prone to dryness and breakage. Some people can also experience topical withdrawal symptoms (TWS). These include redness and peeling of the skin, itchiness, and burning sensation.
For this reason, doctors often recommend them only for short-term use. It also means you should not use them without your physician’s guidance.
5. There’s a Link between Bacterial Infection and Eczema
Eczema can sometimes result in a bacterial infection, such as staph. It can occur even when there’s no significant breakage in the skin. All the bacteria need is a small crack to enter the body.
It’s important to know if the skin condition is only eczema or if there’s already bacterium involved. Unless you deal with the bacterium, your eczema treatment plan might not work at all.
Eczema isn’t the easiest to treat, but with finding the right doctor and being proactive by learning more about it, you can have years of no flare-ups ahead of you.