Eczema, also called dermatitis, refers to several non-contagious skin conditions. The most common, atopic eczema, is triggered by contact with irritants (allergens, scented products, etc.).
Types of eczema
Here are the most common types of eczema.
Contact dermatitis is the most frequent type of inflammation of the skin. It is a temporary reaction triggered by an allergen or irritating product.
The most prevalent form of chronic eczema is atopic eczema, which involves an inherited hypersensitivity of the immune system. Sufferers often present other types of allergic disorders (e.g. food allergies, asthma, hay fever), in conjunction or alternation with the eczema.
Seborrhic eczema is a form of eczema of the scalp that can also spread to the face, ears and chest. In adults, seborrhea is known as dandruff. In babies, it appears as cradle cap, a thick, yellowish skin rash.
Varicose eczema affects the lower legs of older adults. It is associated with poor circulation.
The symptoms of eczema are as follows:
- Dry skin
- Small blisters
- Extreme itchiness
Other skin conditions, such as psoriasis, can present similar symptoms. Do not hesitate to consult a health professional if you have any concerns on this subject.
Other than genetics, many factors can cause or aggravate eczema:
- Contact with irritants (e.g. synthetic fibres, detergents, perfumes, etc.)
- Allergens (e.g. foods, plants, animals, etc.)
- Heat and humidity
- Frequent hand washing
- Stress and anxiety
- Skin infections
Young children are more likely to have eczema. However, 90 percent of them will outgrow their symptoms by adolescence.
Since eczema cannot be cured, the treatment options, which vary according to the type of eczema you have, are intended to reduce the inflammation and discomfort associated with it.
Topical creams and ointments
Many creams can be used to soothe the discomfort of eczema, reduce the intensity of flare ups and decrease recurrence.
La Roche Posay’s LIPIKAR line is an example of products to incorporate into your daily routine or that of your eczema-prone child:
- Cleanse with LIPIKAR SYNDET AP+ lipid-replenishing shower cream: An ultra-gentle cleansing base enriched with shea butter and niacinamide. This is combined with Aqua Posae Filiformis, a new and exclusive patented active ingredient that acts on the determining factors of atopy-prone skin. Soap-, fragrance- and paraben-free, this product reduces severe dryness and discomfort after you shower.
- Soothe with LIPIKAR Baume AP+: Beyond immediate soothing, this anti-itching balm spaces out episodes of severe dryness. Its formula contains the fewest possible ingredients, that are selected for their effectiveness and provide just what the skin needs for long-lasting comfort. It is suitable even for newborns. Massage the balm lightly over the entire body, ideally once a day.
- Moisturize with TOLERIANE ULTRA: This soothing cream will intensely hydrate your face. Its calming action is reinforced by naturally soothing and anti-irritating La Roche-Posay thermal spring water. Apply to the face and neck morning and night.
They can be used to reduce extreme itchiness, when the condition involves an allergic component.
Exposure to ultraviolet rays
Consult a health professional to learn more about the best treatment for your type of eczema.
Here are a few tips for people suffering from eczema:
- Identify the irritants and allergens that trigger your flare-ups and try to avoid them.
- Manage the humidity level in your home.
- Keep skin slightly damp, as often possible.
- Avoid scratching affected areas.
- Wear clothing that lets skin breathe.
Psychological and emotional factors, such as a major stressful event, family conflicts or the loss of a loved one play an important role in eczema flare-ups. People with eczema should therefore practise relaxation activities or seek professional counselling to better understand and manage their stress.
Do you have questions about eczema and its treatment? Ask your pharmacist for help!