Eczema Prone Skin
Understanding Eczema and what you can do about it.
What is eczema?
Eczema is very common, 1 in 5 New Zealand children will suffer from eczema while that number reduces to 1 in 7 for adults.
Over 17.8 million Americans alone have eczema — which most often appears as a red, itchy rash normally on the cheeks, arms and legs.
There is a number of different types of eczema that you will need to know about:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic eczema
- Hand eczema
- Nummular eczema
- Stasis dermatitis
All of these types of eczema cause itching, dryness and redness, but some may also cause your skin to blister, “weep,” or peel. The most common type, which can also be severe and long-lasting, is atopic dermatitis.
It’s important to understand which type of eczema you or your child may have. It also pays to learn about and understand your symptoms and possible triggers. Knowing this can help you learn how best to treat and manage your own or your child’s eczema.
The best and only way to be sure if you or your child has eczema and which type of eczema you may have, is to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you on to a skin specialist (dermatologist).
What causes eczema?
The exact cause of Eczema/ atopic dermatitis is unknown – it appears to be linked to the following internal and external triggers:
- A family history of eczema, asthma or hay fever (the strongest predictor)
- If both parents have eczema or a form of dermatitis there is up to a 80 per cent chance that their children may also develop Eczema/ atopic dermatitis
- Some foods and alcohol can aggravate the condition:
- Dairy and wheat products, citrus fruits, eggs, nuts, seafood, chemical food additives, preservatives and colourings
- Stress is also known as a contributing factor
How did I develop eczema?
Researchers do know that a combination of genetics and environmental factors are involved. When something from outside the body triggers the immune system, the skin cells don’t behave like they should, cause the skin to flare up.
Research shows that Eczema/ atopic dermatitis run in families, but it is not known the exact way it is passed from parents to children. If one parent has Eczema/ atopic dermatitis, asthma, or hay fever, there’s a strong chance that their child will have at least one of these diseases. If both parents have one or more of these conditions, the chances are much greater that their child will, too.
Is eczema and atopic dermatitis a global problem?
An estimated 10% of all people worldwide are affected by Eczema/ atopic dermatitis at some point in their life. The condition seems to be more common in urban areas and developed countries and affects men and women of all races equally.
Either way, Eczema/ atopic dermatitis is not contagious. You or your child cannot “catch” it from another person, or give it to someone else.
What’s the difference between eczema and atopic dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis is considered a more severe type of eczema. People with AD may experience a number of different sensitivities for the rest of their lives:
- Dry skin that becomes easily irritated
- Occupational skin diseases like hand dermatitis
- Skin infections like “staph” and herpes
- Eye problems like eyelid dermatitis or cataracts
There are other types of eczema that cause itching and redness, but some will also cause your skin to blister, “weep,” or peel.
It’s important to understand which of the eight types of eczema you or your child may have, so that you can better treat and manage it. The only way to be sure that you or your child has this condition is to make an appointment with your doctor.
Unlike other kinds of eczema, atopic dermatitis does not usually go away in a few days or weeks. It might get better or worse but the symptoms typically return.
Eczema and atopic dermatitis is very itchy. You or your child’s skin can become damaged from repeated scratching or rubbing. AD normally appears on the cheeks, arms and legs, but can be anywhere on the body.
Symptoms of eczema and atopic dermatitis include:
- Dry, scaly skin
- Cracks behind the ears
- A rash on the cheeks, arms and/or legs
- Open, crusted or “weepy” sores (usually during flare-ups)
Are there things that can make my eczema and atopic dermatitis worse?
The best advice to try and stay healthy and learn to manage the symptoms you have living with eczema/ atopic dermatitis.
Learn to understand what triggers your symptoms and may lead to a flare-up.
Common eczema/ atopic dermatitis triggers:
- Dry skin — which can easily become itchy, scaly, rough, and tight
- Skin irritations —products or substances you may use almost every day like common soaps including hand or dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, bath and body wash, cleaners and disinfectants. Some of these can cause your skin to react and become irritated, itchy, dry and red
- Stressful situation — flare-ups and eczema symptoms can increase or be triggered by emotional stress
- Hot/cold temps and sweating — can lead to itchy skin or “prickly heat” symptoms from the heat and/or sweating and very dry skin can develop during the cold winter months
- Infection — from bacteria and viruses that live in your environment (like “staph,” herpes, or certain types of fungi)
- Allergens — everyday materials in the environment like seasonal pollen, dust mites, pet dander and mould
- Hormones — flare ups may happen, especially in women, when certain hormones in the body increase or decrease
How can I control my atopic dermatitis?
There are a number of things you can do to manage your atopic dermatitis. The most important thing is to be consistent with your skin care. Setting up a daily routine is important for you or your child so that you are able to live more comfortably with AD.
- Establish a daily skin care routine just like you would for other activities such as brushing your teeth. Be sure not to miss treatments and adapt your routine to address any changes in your AD.
- Recognize stressful situations and events and learn to avoid or cope with them by using techniques for stress management. You may do this on your own, or with the help of your doctor or psychologist.
- Be mindful of scratching and rubbing and limit contact with materials or substances that may irritate your skin. Dress in soft, breathable clothing and avoid itchy fabrics like wool that can irritate your skin.
Contact dermatitis happens when the skin touches irritating substances or allergens. These make the skin inflamed, causing it to burn, itch and become red. There are two kinds of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic. Contact dermatitis usually appears on the hands, or parts of the body that touched the irritant/allergen.
The most common irritants include:
- Industrial chemicals
- Tobacco smoke
- Acidic Foods
- Skin care products that content alcohol (but not cetyl alcohol)
- Some soaps and fragrances
- Allergens (usually animal dander or pollens)
Symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
- Redness and rash
- Burning or swelling
- Blisters that may weep or crust over
Children with eczema
Eczema is a non-contagious, inflammatory skin condition generally recognised by dry and itching skin, redness, and scaly rashes. These symptoms can at times be painful and cause a change in the skin colour. They may also appear as small blisters. Eczema symptoms often appear on the arms, legs, hands, and face of children.
The itch associated with eczema in infants and children can be irritating and severe and can often interrupt sleep. Children have been known to develop skin infections from insistent scratching, which may require medical assistance to control.
Eczema in children is common and generally presents before the age of 5. However, adolescents and adults can also develop this eczema.
Children born into families that have a history of eczema or allergic diseases such as asthma and hay fever have increased risk of developing eczema.
Are Atopis products safe to use on children?
Atopis was designed with children in mind. We care deeply about the effects of eczema and atopic dermatitis has on children. This is one of our company’s most pressing concerns.
Our USA (CA) Ethics Committee approved eczema clinical trial in the USA was designed to provide evidence that the cream is FDA compliant. Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Relief Cream was carefully researched and clinically trialed to provide clear evidence that it was safe for children and adults for long-term everyday use.
Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Relief Cream is safe and gentle for use on children. We wanted the cream to be soothing and soft for young delicate skin to help balance and restore normal skin function.
The Atopic March in children
Eczema in children is considered by dermatologist and allergists to be part of what is known as the “atopic march.” The atopic march involves the diagnosis of eczema, food allergy, allergic rhinitis, and asthma, typically in that sequential order. Not all children follow this pattern. Research is focused on understanding more about the atopic march in order to develop new treatments to manage it.
There is documented evidence linking food allergies and eczema among young children. Always consult a specialist, however, it is widely recommended that young children under the age of 5 who have developed moderate or severe eczema be evaluated for allergies to milk, egg, peanut, wheat, and soy. If your child continues to have eczema even after ongoing treatment, it is recommended to identify if there is a reaction after eating a specific food. Again, a specialist can help you identify which foods, if any, to eliminate from your child’s diet.
Parents with children diagnosed with eczema can manage this condition with the guidance from your doctor of dermatologist, as well as by using safe, clinically trialed products. In cases where you are recommended to use prescription medications child, including topical steroids and/or antihistamine, it is still safe to balance use of such medications with other natural products and moisturizers. Parents with children with eczema should help your child avoid harsh chemicals, encourage them to drink water often, stay warm and wear gloves in cold weather, and try to avoid wearing materials that could irritate the skin, such as wool.
Flare-ups of eczema in children can be caused by foods, cosmetics, soaps, wool, dust mites, mould, pollen and dry climates, contact with dogs or cats, even horses.
Could I have psoriasis?
Psoriasis is also an immune-mediated condition and it occurs because the skin cells grow too fast. This rapid growth causes dead skin cells to accumulate on the surface of the skin, resulting in thick patches of red, dry, itchy skin. It is an incurable, long-term (chronic) skin condition which can be seriously debilitating. Like eczema, psoriasis flares up and causes the skin to itch and can be triggered by environmental factors, as well as by the body’s ability to manage it.
Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp. Both eczema and psoriasis involve skin inflammation; however, eczema generally develops in younger children, while psoriasis is most frequently diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25. Psoriasis does look different to eczema, and confirmation of diagnosis needs to be done by a GP or skin specialist.
Although there is no cure for psoriasis, researchers frequently stress the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, getting enough sleep and exercise, as well as keeping stress levels low are all helpful in managing psoriasis.
Atopis and psoriasis
Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Relief Cream represents a reliable alternative to harsh chemical and steroid based treatments proven to provide sufferers with ongoing relief from most uncomfortable skin complaints. We want you to experience high quality luxurious creams, with delicate textures and fragrances, designed to soften dry, flaky areas and nourish, repair and fortify your skin.
Recommended products for eczema prone skin
Dry Itchy Skin Relief Cream
Clinically shown to rapidly relieve dry itchy, irritated skin and reduce redness.
Within two weeks of use, this potent all-natural therapy promotes cell renewal, hydrates and restores the skin leaving your skin feeling soft and no longer dry and itchy. Atopis works in synergy with your immune system so you stop reacting to environmental triggers.
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