What is eczema? Living with and managing skin conditions

by Lea Abboud

Are you suffering from eczema, have a child or family member that is, or you just heard the term and you’re curious to learn more?

Eczema, a skin condition that affects the skin’s barrier and weakens it. The exact cause is unknown, however, it can manifest in individuals due to genetic predispositions, immune system dysfunctions, environmental exposures, or many other reasons.

Eczema triggers affect the skin and cause it to become rough and inflamed resulting in itching, bleeding, and/or blistering. Triggers are different depending on the person and the type of eczema that they have.

Think you have eczema? 👉 Take the survey

What are the different types of eczema?

Eczema is not a single condition, it’s the name of a group of conditions. Here are a few examples of the specific conditions that can affect individuals:

  • Atopic dermatitis — a malfunction in the immune system causing problems with the skin barrier, showing up as dry, itchy, and scaly patches.
  • Contact dermatitis — inflammation caused when the skin comes in contact with an irritant and/or allergen like solvents, rubbing alcohol, bleach and detergents, shampoos, and permanent wave solutions.
  • Hand eczema — a combination of causes, genes, irritants, and/or allergies can cause itchy, dry, scaly patches of skin that crack and flake.
  • & many more

People with one type of eczema may also go on to develop other types depending on genetics and exposure to environmental triggers.

Who is affected by eczema?

“Worldwide, about 20 percent of children and up to 3 percent of the adult population have some form of eczema.”
— Source

Like mentioned above, eczema is most common in children before the age of 5. After that, some children grow out of it and their eczema disappears. Others are not so lucky and continue to suffer as they enter their adolescence, adulthood, and old age. For some, eczema doesn’t show up at all until much later in life. Adult-onset eczema occurs when a person has no symptoms until the age of 18.

Whether it’s children, teenagers, or adults, eczema affects a diverse population and has no cure. It can however, be managed.

How do you manage eczema?

Treating eczema can become part of who you are, from morning to night rituals and drawers filled with 10 different brands of cream. Treatments fall within three categories:

  1. Skin care: Moisturizers like eye, face, and body creams. Unscented/allergen-free shower products. Face masks made from allergen-free ingredients. Bleach baths. Etc.
  2. Lifestyle: Exercising wearing breathable workout clothes and showering right after to avoid getting irritated by the sweat. Following a consistent sleep schedule. Avoiding feelings of stress and anxiety which can causes flare-ups.
  3. Fabrics: Wearing clothing and accessories (hats, scarves) made out of 100% cotton. Cotton is breathable and soft, therefore non-irritating to the skin. Bed sheets that don’t irritate the skin or cause any allergies.

Managing eczema through different products and habits helps avoid flare-ups and getting the skin irritated.

Think you have eczema? 👉 Take the survey