Whether you suffer from eczema or know someone who does, you know it’s not a pretty situation. The skin condition that comes in a variety of forms causes rough, red, dry patches of skin that become itchy and troublesome in those affected. There are a variety of treatments and a variety of causes, but there are also many unknown facts about the condition.
To help you learn about eczema and treat your own (or help others treat themselves), here are 10 things no one ever tells you about eczema:
1. You can get it at any age: While it’s most common in children, eczema can come on at any age, and many adults suffer from the skin condition. You can have it at an early age and see it disappear, or you can live your entire life without it and have it show it show up one day. However, approximately 80% of cases begin before age 5.
2. Atopic eczema means it’s developed hereditarily: If your parents or anyone else in your family has eczema, there’s a good chance you may also experience it. “Atopy” is the predisposition to develop hypersensitive reactions, which includes eczema, but can also include hay fever, asthma and hay fever. Not all eczema is hereditary, however.
3. There are different types of eczema: While some are long-term, not all forms of eczema last forever. Atopic eczema is chronic and can last a lifetime, while less severe types of eczema can result in frequent flare ups brought on by stress or tension.
4. Topical steroids can help flare ups: Steroid creams like Cortizone-10 are an excellent over the counter way to help flare ups. For chronic cases, a dermatologist should be consulted.
5. Avoid scented and harsh soaps: When you’ve got sensitive skin, even the fragrance in a body wash can cause a bad case of eczema. Soaps can dry out your skin and fragrances can cause you to be incredibly itchy, which will only worsen the problem over time and make you more uncomfortable. Instead, opt for a soap alternative, and be sure to use emollient on the area to sooth the situation.
6. Food allergies can be a trigger: Though rare, food allergies can trigger bad cases of eczema. Some of the common foods that can trigger a reaction are milk, eggs, wheat, fish and soy.
7. Hormones can cause a flare up: Unavoidable as they may be, the hormonal changes in a girl’s body during her cycle can be triggers for eczema to flare up. If you happen to notice a pattern getting patches of eczema at the same time each month, talk to your dermatologist for a plan of action.
8. Continue to treat with emollients even after skin has returned to normal: Use emollients every single day in areas that are typically affected by eczema. Even if a flare up is gone, continue to treat so that you prevent a worse, second break out. Prevention, when possible, is key, and this is a simple way to prevent flare ups.
9. You can get eczema on your scalp: This can be more frustrating than a flare up on your arm or leg, as your hair becomes a bit of an issue. Tar shampoo is the recommended remedy for lifting the dry skin from your scalp. Be sure to use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner and limit your heat styling at all times to avoid drying out your scalp even more.
10. Breastfeeding can minimize eczema: When a child is breastfed as opposed to given formula, they are at a lower risk for developing atopic eczema. Also, delaying the introduction of solid foods until a baby is six months old is said to help.
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