Where can you get dermatitis
How eczema starts
Let’s clear up a common misconception: eczema isn’t contagious. It’s not a rash caused by bacteria, and it isn’t like a seasonal allergy. One also can’t “just” get over it as if it’s a temporary scratch. It’s often an ongoing part of life and one that vastly affects your mood. We understand how frustrating it is that the exact cause of eczema is unknown. Knowing that immune function, genetics, and lifestyle all play a part is helpful but also leaves unanswered questions.
Regardless, no matter where you may be in your skin journey, having an overview of the different ways that eczema can manifest in a person’s life provides context to the struggle.
Eczema can appear as early as infancy. Eczema on the skin of babies appears as crusty, flaky patches on your baby's skin, often during their first few months. It’s common and treatable and many infants outgrow it, with no traces in their later years. The appearance differs depending on the baby’s skin tone. On fair skin, reddish patches appear. In deeper-toned babies, it may appear more purplish, brownish, or grayish. The patches feel rough and dry to the touch. It can appear anywhere on an infant’s body, and often in the crooks of their joints or cheek areas. Daily moisturizing with gentle baby-formulated soaps and drying with soft, non-irritating materials is key to reducing eczema in an infant. With mild fragrance and additive-free cleansers and a post-bath moisturizer or gentle ointment, the condition should decrease.
During the teen years, when changes in hormones and bodily development are happening, eczema is particularly frustrating. Many teens with eczema have family members who also have the condition. The signs of eczema in a teen look like those in adulthood: itchy skin, red and rough patches, dryness, or crusty skin. As a parent, watching your kid suffer through the condition—especially if you don’t have it yourself—can be tough. If it’s hard on you, it’s even harder on your child. Children with eczema often feel embarrassed about how their skin looks, and struggle with wavering self-esteem in peer groups. Teach them how to feel confident in their skin, no matter how it looks each day.
The key to helping them manage eczema successfully now and later in life is teaching them to read ingredient labels. Monitor their toiletries and cosmetics for potential irritants. These include:
- Fillers, fragrances or scent-masking agents
- Cleansers that are too harsh, and strip the skin barrier
- Cosmetics purchased from unknown sources or non-dermatologically tested brands
- Expired makeup or beauty products
- Makeup tools and brushes that haven’t been cleaned
Across the board, from infancy to adulthood, keeping the skin moisturized helps reduce eczema symptoms and often keeps the worst at bay. Your child’s eczema is an opportunity to teach them about the difference between branding and formulations, greenwashing and real sustainability, and most importantly, recognizing the names of the ingredients on the label.
Clean cosmetics, crafted without chemical shortcuts and made with high-grade, natural ingredients are helpful for eczema. They’re powerfully moisturizing, and don’t skimp on the vitamins and essential fatty acids the skin needs for its repair. Choose products that are formulated to be gentle and helpful for eczema. Educate your child on the reasons why these products work well, and help them understand how big corporations will cut corners to make sales. By showing them the differences between true effectiveness and marketing, you can set them up for healthier skin for life.
Pressures of work, relationships, money, and society are constantly on our shoulders in adulthood. We talked about eczema triggers in another article recently. When you look at this list, it becomes apparent that a lot of the triggers for eczema flare-ups are things that inflict our mental state.
Eczema in adults looks just like it does as a teenager, except this time, we don’t always have a helpful parent to support us through these skin conditions. On the other hand, we may have the financial power to throw more solutions at the problem.
As an adult, it’s important to think long term and to consider the health of your skin not just today, but tomorrow, five years later, and ten years later. As we become more established, we want to consider allocating more of a budget to our skin care. Being more choosy about what you put on your body pays off. Using products that aren’t focused on covering up, but are focused on feeding our natural skin and helping it heal itself pays off many times over. If you’re a person who hasn’t historically spent much money on self-care, it might be time to rethink the approach. Buying premium, sustainably produced, high-efficacy products gives you the peace of mind that you’re getting skincare of real substance.
Eczema Arising as a Secondary Condition
Sometimes, after bodily or mental trauma, eczema can arise. A non-exhaustive list of potential conditions includes burns, pregnancy, C-section deliveries, surgeries, periods of emotional trauma, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Along with everything else that’s going on, eczema as a secondary condition can push you to your limit.
When the cause is identifiable, it’s often easy to downplay the appearance of eczema and focus on the other condition that preceded it. For example, some people develop irritable bowel syndrome after too much antibiotic consumption damages the gut microbiome. Because of the gut-skin axis, the skin also expresses the consequences of an imbalanced microbial population. Remember to also address eczema to the degree that you can. By addressing both the cause and the symptoms, you can reduce your stress and prevent further tertiary developments.
8 Tips for Parents of Teens with Eczema. (2022, April 11). Healthline. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/eczema/tips-for-parents-teens-eczema
How Age Affects Eczema - Skin Health. (2019, July 3). Verywell Health. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/most-common-location-for-eczema-82720
How to treat baby eczema. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/expert-answers/baby-eczema/faq-20450999