What you need to know about eczema, the itchy skin condition.
Most people think that eczema is a hereditary condition, but it’s not necessarily the case. Turns out, we can all fall prey to this nasty and painful skin condition; it’s not just a genetic predisposition.
“According to research, it is believed to be a combination of both the environment and one’s genes,” Dr Eileen Tan, Dermatologist at the Skin, Laser and Hair Transplant Clinic of Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital tells us.
In other words, we may grow up eczema-free but because of certain external factors that we face, we may still develop eczema later in life. “There are a few subtypes of eczema and some are related to dry skin and later onset in life,” shares Dr Tan.
Read on and find out more as Dr Tan sheds light on the top must-knows about eczema.
1. It affects both children and adults
Eczema is very much a clinical diagnosis, meaning you’ll have to go through a doctor’s consultation. In young babies, it’s most prominent on the cheeks, forehead, scalp and the skin around the mouth and eyelids. Adults may find eczema in common areas such as in front of the elbows and behind the knees.
2. Spot the signs
This skin disease is caused by a combination of factors: An overactive skin immune system and a weak skin barrier. The former causes skin to become inflammed when triggered by an allergen or irritant, causing redness and painful itch. The latter can lead to an increase in the risks of skin infection.
3. Seek early treatment
As eczema can be progressive in nature, it’ll be wise to avoid delayed treatment. Also, be wary of the things that you use because common causes include hair dye allergy, latex and nickel allergy.
4. Choose your skincare wisely
A regular and disciplined skin care routine is as important as drug treatments. To reduce flare-ups, use a soap-free cleanser for your face and body. Additionally, choose moisturisers with active ingredients such as ceramides, free fatty acids, sodium PCA (pyrrolidone carboxylic acid) and arginine. They will help to restore the damaged skin barrier.
5. Pay attention to what triggers your eczema
Eczema triggers may vary from individual to individual. Some of them include: Changes in temperature, chemical irritants (such as pesticides, perfumes and harsh soaps), allergens (house dust mites and animal dander) and stress.
6. No, eczema can’t be passed through skin contact
One of the biggest myth is that we can contract eczema from someone who has the skin disease. This is not true; eczema isn’t contagious so we can’t contract it by touching a person who has it.
7. Lastly, remember these quick tips
- Choose a mild non-irritating soap.
- Use a moisturiser to lock in moisture at the affected areas such as the hands and feet. It is a good practice to liberally apply moisturiser after bath.
- Reduce stress and get sufficient sleep. Stress and insomnia are closely associated with eczema flares.
- Shun products with fragrance, colouring or additives that could irritate your skin.
A version of this article originally appeared on www.herworldplus.com.