As the weather becomes colder and drier, you or someone in your family may notice an onset of eczema, which tends to flare when skin is very dry. Here are five important things to know about the common, but irritating skin condition.
1) Over 30 million Americans have eczema
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an itchy, red rash that can appear all over the body but is often seen where skin bends like elbows, wrists, and behind knees on grownups. On babies, it often crops up on faces, chests, backs, and scalps.
Did you know? The word itself comes from the Greek word that means to “boil” out! It can be confused with other skin conditions like fungal infections or psoriasis, so if in doubt, have your family physician check it out.
2) Eczema is worse in dry conditions
Eczema has a way of show up during the winter when humidity is low and the skin is very dry or if it comes in contact with irritating substances or allergic triggers.
3) Eczema is caused by genetics and environment
With so many people suffering from eczema, there’s been a lot of research into what exactly causes it. But the true answer is that one direct cause can’t be isolated for everyone. Eczema can be genetic or caused by environmental factors—and it’s not a contagious condition. Researchers have found, however, that people with eczema may have a variety of abnormal immunological findings, making it harder for them to fend off certain infections. The good news, according to the National Eczema Association, is that it usually becomes less severe with time.
4) Irritants and allergens can make your symptoms worse
Skin irritants tend to vary from person to person but common eczema triggers include:
- Some soaps and detergents
- Low humidity
- Shampoos, dish-washing liquids, bubble bath
- Dust mites
- Contact with certain fabrics like wool
- Contact with juices from fresh fruits, meats, vegetables, or saliva
- Repeated wetting and drying of skin
- Food allergies
5) There is help
According to the National Eczema Association, the common medical treatment, steroids, are considered safe if used appropriately — but applying a high-potency corticosteroid too often, or for a long period of time, can cause the skin to eventually thin. While skin atrophy is a possible side effect that is usually not long lasting, it can lead to permanent stretch marks. So even though it may appear as if the steroid is helping heal your child’s eczema, it should not be a long-term solution.
For an alternative, apply a naturally-based eczema relief cream like California Baby’s Therapeutic Relief Eczema Cream, which contains aloe vera and Certified Organic Colloidal Oatmeal, which has been shown to be an extremely effective in soothing chapped or cracked skin. It’s free of mineral and petroleum-based ingredients, synthetic fragrances and dyes. Use in combination with the California Baby Therapeutic Relief Eczema Shampoo & Bodywash which uses gentle glucosides derived from coconut instead of invasive sulfate based cleansers that can trigger eczema symptoms.