What is eczema and what does it look like?
Also known as dermatitis, eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry skin with very itchy red patches that may ooze, become scaly, crusted or hardened. Eczema can affect any part of the body.
Different types of eczema
Causes of eczema and triggers
Although genetic, immunological and environmental factors play a key role, the specific cause of eczema is not known.
While normal skin is supple, fairly waterproof, and offers protection from the outside world, skin that is affected by eczema is usually dry, cracked, and the protective outer layer (also known as the skin barrier) is damaged. Because of this, the skin loses moisture, resulting in dry, cracked skin.
Eczema symptoms tend to come and go. Reappearing or worsening symptoms are known as a “flare-up.” Many factors may trigger an eczema flare-up; these can include soaps, detergents, abrasive clothing, perfume, dust, excessive sweating or low humidity. Irritated skin itches, causing you to scratch the affected area. Scratching worsens the condition and skin becomes inflamed, worsening the itch. This is called the “itch-scratch cycle,” which can become severe and cause pain.
Everyone is different, but knowing what triggers your eczema is key to managing this skin condition.
Be sure to use our eczema trigger journal to help track your flare-ups.
Tips to help the itch
How to treat eczema
While no cure has yet to be found for eczema, and no treatment successfully works for everyone, there are ways to manage eczema to make it more tolerable.
Frequent bathing (2 to 3 times daily, if possible) followed by the application of a moisturizer is a good way to take care of your skin, to reduce the chances of a flare-up. Bathing allows moisture into the skin and moisturizer helps to seal the moisture in. If you prefer, you can shower instead; just be sure to use warm water and a gentle cleanser or shower oil.
Non-prescription Dermakalm Eczema creams, available on shelf at your pharmacy, help provide temporary relief of symptoms of atopic eczema (dermatitis) and hand and contact eczema (irritant or allergic contact dermatitis).
Developed with dermatologists, Dermakalm Eczema creams are non-greasy and free of corticosteroids, fragrances, parabens and artificial colouring.
Your eczema prevention checklist
Choose loose cotton and soft fabrics over rough, tight, scratchy clothing.
Take lukewarm baths and showers; favour mild soap or non-soap cleansers.
Gently pat your skin dry using a soft towel.
Learn what triggers your eczema and try to avoid these.
In dry or cold weather, use a humidifier.
Keep your fingernails short.
Bathing and moisturizing
After bathing in warm (not hot) water, pat your skin dry.
Apply a moisturizer or Dermakalm Eczema Cream to your skin while it is still damp.
If applicable, use your prescription product as recommended by your doctor.
Reapply moisturizer several times throughout the day.
Myths and facts
Even though eczema is a fairly common condition, there are many misconceptions about this chronic skin disease.
The more you know, the easier it will be to help others distinguish the facts from the myths.
Living with eczema
Sometimes this means dealing with stares and hostile comments.
Eczema is very common on the hands and face. It is therefore very visible and many people know nothing about this condition, meaning that you will be exposed to various reactions.
The more you know about your condition, the better equipped you will be to respond and educate people about it. Sometimes, speaking openly about your condition will help family, friends and coworkers. Let them know how this chronic condition affects you, what it is and what it is not.
Being a chronic disease, eczema must be managed daily. Establish a routine that works for you and stick to it. Maintaining this routine, even when your eczema is under control, is key.
Hear from other people living with eczema
Watch the Eczema Society of Canada video
Break through eczema.
Reclaim your skin.
Learn more about how Dermakalm Eczema products can help provide temporary relief of eczema symptoms.