What is Eczema?
Eczema is a condition which causes the skin to become red, dry, cracked and itchy. Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of the condition.
What Causes Eczema?
There are numerous factors which can contribute to the appearance of this skin condition. Typically, those with atopic eczema have dry skin which struggles to retain moisture. This means that the skin is more vulnerable to certain triggers.
These triggers can vary from person to person. Common triggers include:
- Irritants – e.g. soaps, detergents, shampoo, washing up liquid and bubble bath
- Environmental factors – such as cold and dry weather, damp, and allergen triggers such as mould, fur, pollen and house dust mites
- Food allergies – e.g. allergies to cow's milk, peanuts, eggs, wheat or soy
- Certain materials are worn next to the skin – e.g. wool and synthetic fabrics
- Hormonal changes – e.g. women may find their symptoms get worse in the days before their period or during pregnancy
- Skin infections
It has also been reported that a dry or dusty atmosphere can make eczema symptoms worse.
The chance of developing eczema is linked to genetic. If you have a parent or sibling with eczema then you are more likely to develop the condition. You may potentially be at increased risk of experiencing eczema if you also suffer from asthma.
Eczema is not contagious, so you do not need to worry about passing on the condition through bodily contact.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
Eczema is a condition which is characterised by red, itchy, dry, cracked and sore skin. There are periods where symptoms may improve or they may get worse. These ‘flare-ups’ may occur as often as 2 or 3 times a month.
The symptoms of eczema are most commonly seen on the hands but can occur all over the body. The severity of the symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. Some people may only experience a few small patches of affected skin. In more severe cases red, itchy skin can spread over most of the body which can be very uncomfortable. Although it might be tempting, scratching your skin will not relieve eczema symptoms. Scratching can cause bleeding, discomfort and may lead to infection. Skin affected by eczema may also appear darker. This usually returns to normal eventually.
How do you treat eczema?
If you suffer from atopic eczema there are a number of effective treatments to help improve your symptoms. Complete emollient therapy is a well-established approach which treats eczema by using a combination of different creams, ointments and oils throughout the day.
Eumovate has been formulated to tackle flare-ups and relieve the discomfort by stopping the release of chemicals in the skin which causes redness and irritation.
Using emollients such as Doublebase can also help to moisturise and manage dry, chapped skin and reduce the risk of the condition getting worse.
If you find over-the-counter ointments and creams, you can speak with your doctor and discuss potential, prescription eczema treatments that may be better suited for you.
If your symptoms persist or become more severe when using any of these products, stop taking them immediately and contact your doctor.