At Least Its Not : : : :
People often think theyre reassuring a person with eczema by reminding them how lucky they are that their rash isnt a more serious medical condition. But while its true that eczema wont kill you, this type of comment isnt particularly helpful, Karina says. What people have to understand is just because its not life-threatening, doesnt mean that its totally benign, she explains. People with eczema can have a really poor quality of life.
For people with chronic, severe eczema in particular, the condition requires a lot of self-care. You need to be constantly mindful of allergens, household items, animals, and other irritants that could cause eczema symptoms to flare upand treating those symptoms can also be extremely challenging.
It can have a detrimental impact, says Karina.
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Eczema Coping Tips Good Hygiene
Skin affected by eczema is more vulnerable to a range of infections, including impetigo, cold sores and warts. The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus may cause a secondary infection of impetigo, and possibly contribute to the symptoms of eczema.Suggestions for washing include:
- Take lukewarm baths or showers, and avoid really hot showers.
- Dont use ordinary soap, as the ingredients may aggravate your eczema. Wash your body with warm water alone. For armpits and groin, use soap-free products, such as sorbolene cream.
- Bath oils can help to moisturise your skin while bathing.
- When towelling dry, pat rather than rub your skin.
Getting Your Skin Mysteries Solved
So, is eczema contagious? No, but many other skin infections arewhich means that if you have a skin problem that worries you, you should check with a Dermatologist. They can conduct an exam to identify what’s wrong and help create a treatment plan to relieve the rash.
If it’s eczema that’s the culprit, your provider may recommend a skin care routine that includes a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. They may also suggest that you avoid or limit your triggers, such as dust or pollen. But if some other condition is to blame, such as a contagious infection, your doctor may prescribe you medication to help treat the underlying problem.
No matter what, consult with your Dermatologist for answers. They can help you unravel the mysteries of your skin rash to give you a little more peace of mindand hopefully, a lot less itch, too.
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A Final Word On Why Eczema Isnt Contagious
The bottom line? Eczema is not contagious so if youre self-conscious about your itchy, dry skin, know that you and people around you shouldnt worry about the possibility of it being passed along to someone else. If your skin becomes infected, whether by itching eczema or through some other means, that infection can be passed on to somebody else through skin-to-skin contact but not the underlying condition of eczema itself.
And you can talk with a dermatologist about all the ways to manage eczema, including moisturizing as often as possible and doing your best to lock in that moisture, such as with a fragrance-free cream. Allergy testing can also help you pinpoint some of the triggers of your eczema, Prete notes.
Daily self-care, using soothing emollients, and regular visits to a board-certified dermatologist can help control this itchy, annoying, and sometimes debilitating condition, Rieder says.
How To Prevent Dyshidrotic Eczema From Becoming Infected
To prevent dyshidrotic eczema from becoming infected, be sure to take care of your skin and overall health. Determine your triggers and avoid them as much as possible.
Preventing or minimizing skin cracks and open wounds can prevent viruses, fungi, and bacteria from entering your skin.
During flare-ups, dont pick or scratch your skin. To reduce dryness and itchiness, keep the affected area moisturized with a lotion thats formulated for eczema-prone skin.
Wear gloves and moisture-wicking socks during extreme weather and at night.
The specific causes of dyshidrotic eczema are unknown, but its linked to several triggers, such as:
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Use A Moisturizer On Your Skin Every Day
Moisturizers help keep your skin soft and flexible. They prevent skin cracks. A plain moisturizer is best. Avoid moisturizers with fragrances and a lot of extra ingredients. A good, cheap moisturizer is plain petroleum jelly . Use moisturizers that are more greasy than creamy because creams usually have more preservatives in them.
Regular use of a moisturizer can help prevent the dry skin that is common in winter.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Eczema And Atopic Dermatitis
Overall, all types of eczema are characterized by challenging skin symptoms related to inflammation, itchiness and dryness.
Both eczema and atopic dermatitis flare-ups generally appear in the form of:
- Inflamed skin in affected areas
- Oozing bumps on affected areas
Skin patches often appear near creases in the body, such as the knees or elbows, as well as on the face, chest, neck feet, ankles, hands and wrists.
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Types And Causes Of Eczema
Eczema is a general term that refers to different types of dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin.
According to the National Eczema Association there are 7 types of eczema:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Staph infections
The appearance of infected skin will vary, but it may cause a golden crust on top of the skin, and weeping or blistering skin, says Rajani Katta MD, dermatologist and volunteer clinical faculty at Baylor College of Medicine and McGovern Medical School at UT Health.
Alternatively, your skin may be red and very warm to the touch.
Katta says infected eczema can be spread when the bacteria from infected skin is transferred to someone else’s skin. Additionally, open blisters aren’t the only way that the infection can spread.
“The crust or weeping sores may transmit the bacteria, but that crust doesn’t actually have to touch another person’s skin. If an infected person is scratching the crust, they can get the bacteria on their hands, and they can then transmit it to someone else,” says Katta.
When it comes to how contagious it is, it depends on the type of infection and the skin barrier of the person. Katta says if someone who has no skin conditions comes in contact with bacteria from infected eczema, it might not cause any infection. However, if you have an impaired skin barrier or another condition like diabetes, you will be more likely to develop an infection, says Katta.
Severe Ad Often Requires Expertise
A treatment plan for severe AD can have many parts. A board-certified dermatologist can tailor a treatment plan to meet your needs. While that may not completely eliminate severe AD, it can help you feel better.
ImagesImage 1: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Image 2: Getty Images
ReferencesEichenfield LF, Tom WL, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Section 2. Management and treatment of atopic dermatitis with topical therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 71:116-32.
Kalb RE and Weinberg JM. Atopic dermatitis: New perspective on managing a chronic inflammatory disease. Global Education Group and Integritas Communications. Released: July 1, 2017.
Sidbury R, Davis DM, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis Section 3. Management and treatment with phototherapy and systemic agents. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 71:327-49.
Simpson EL, Bruin-Weller M, et al. When does atopic dermatitis warrant systemic therapy? Recommendations from an expert panel of the International Eczema Council. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 Oct 77:623-33.
Thyssen JP, Skov L, et al. Assessment of major comorbidities in adults with atopic dermatitis using the Charlson comorbidity index. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 76:1088-92.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
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Take It One Day At A Time
Is eczema contagious? No. But living with the condition can be challenging. Having dry, red, itchy, or flaky skin can adversely affect your life.
As soon as your doctor confirms your diagnosis, arm yourself with as much information about it as possible. Learn what triggers to avoid, make necessary dietary changes, and switch up some of your soaps to ease the symptoms.
Our Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash is formulated to lock in moisture and is gentle on the skin. After using this soothing wash, apply our Eczema Daily Calming Cream to relieve itch and irritation and leave your skin feeling soft and moisturized.
With the above tips and Bodewell skincare products, you can skillfully manage even the most difficult eczema type and live the happy and fulfilling life you deserve free from the limitations of eczema.
How Eczema And Atopic Dermatitis Are Treated
While there is no cure for eczema, because it is a chronic disorder, there are treatments available to reverse, eliminate or lessen symptoms of mild to severe eczema.
Treatment for eczema and atopic dermatitis symptoms may be a topical treatment, systemic treatment or medical treatment.
Eczema treatment is aimed at improving overall health with various lifestyle changes, treating inflammation, healing itchy skin, suppressing the immune systems response to allergens and allowing the skin to repair itself.
When it comes to eczema, the best treatment method will depend on the type of eczema. For example, because atopic dermatitis generally manifests around the elbows and knees, a topical medication for the affected area may be prescribed, as well as an oral medication, such as an antihistamine or antibiotics.
On the other hand, seborrheic dermatitis , another type of eczema that affects the scalp and tends to cause dandruff, itchy scalp may be treated best with a medicated shampoo and/or topical treatment.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Impetigo
Impetigo may affect skin anywhere on the body, but is most common around the nose and mouth, hands, and forearms, and in young children, the diaper area.
The three types of impetigo are non-bullous , bullous , and ecthyma :
- Non-bullous or crusted impetigo is most common. It begins as tiny blisters that eventually burst and leave small wet patches of red skin that may weep fluid. Gradually, a yellowish-brown or tan crust covers the area, making it look like it has been coated with honey or brown sugar.
- Bullous impetigo causes larger fluid-containing blisters that look clear, then cloudy. These blisters are more likely to stay longer on the skin without bursting.
- Ecthyma impetigo looks like “punched out” ulcers with yellow crust and red edges.
Emollients For Treating Eczema
Emollient creams add moisture to the skin. Apply moisturisers each day to clean, dry skin. It is especially important to moisturise after showering and bathing, and when living or working in an air-conditioned or heated environment. You may need to try several different brands until you find the emollient that works best for you. Ask your doctor, dermatologist or pharmacist for advice.
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Food Allergy And Eczema Flare
- Food allergies are a factor in 30% of young children with severe eczema. This factor is mainly seen in babies.
- The main allergic foods are cows milk and eggs.
- The main symptoms are increased skin redness and itching. Some parents report these symptoms start during or soon after the feeding.
- The eczema becomes easier to control if you avoid the allergic food.
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What Is Eczema In The First Place
Eczema is a sort of umbrella term that includes a few itchy skin rashes, but it most commonly refers to the condition known as atopic dermatitis, says Laura Scott, MD, board-certified dermatologist and associate director, skin of color division at UM Frost Dermatology. Its a chronic condition, she continues, where an overactive immune system leads to an impaired skin barrier that can cause dry, itchy skin, and even skin infections.
What makes this skin condition even more complicated is that its not the same across the board. There are actually multiple forms of eczema ranging in severity and appearance,Caroline Robinson, MD, Chicago-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology, says. It can appear as early as infancy and usually shows up on the face, elbow and knees. From there, it can eventually spread to other parts of the body.
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Eczema Coping Tips Diet
In most cases, eczema isnt caused or made worse by diet. If you notice that your eczema seems to get worse after eating a particular food, you may be an exception to this. See your doctor or dietitian for proper allergy testing and dietary advice.Never self-diagnose or you risk depriving yourself of enjoyable and nutritious foods for no good reason. Unnecessarily avoiding certain foods can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
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How Your Genes And Environment Conspire To Keep You Up Scratching All Night
Eczema is not a contagious disease its a skin condition you can inherit from your parents if you have the genes for eczema, the disease can become activated in the presence of environmental allergens or triggers. An eczema trigger is something in your environment that passes through your skins outermost layer the skin barrier and then causes itchy skin, inflammation and possibly infection. Still, its impossible to catch eczema from someone else it always starts within your own DNA.
Theres a very strong genetic component to this disease, said Dr. Jeff Yu, assistant professor of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital. When someone has eczema, there is almost always a family history of the disease. According to Dr. Yu, if both parents have a history of eczema, theres a 50% chance their child will have eczema, too. Knowing its genetic, however, doesnt always help destigmatize the visible symptoms of the disease.
For some people, kids especially, its helpful to compare eczema to another genetic condition that we inherit from our parents: freckles. The same way that some people have freckles and others do not, the genetic code we receive from our parents determines the texture, thickness and composition of our skin barrier. For instance, if your moms facial skin is covered in freckles, you might end up with freckles on your cheeks, too or maybe not. The genetic code for expressing freckles on your body is activated by exposure to the sun.
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What Are The Causes Of Eczema
Many factors can contribute to eczema, including an interaction between your environment and your genes. When an irritant or an allergen from outside or inside the body switches on the immune system, it produces inflammation, or a flare-up, on the surface of the skin. This inflammation causes the symptoms common to most types of eczema. Creases of the skin, especially the flexural areas behind the knees, elbows, lower legs and other areas of skin that rub against each other can lead to irritation. There is also a potential genetic component to eczema that includes a protein called filaggrin that helps maintain moisture in your skin a filaggrin deficiency can lead to drier, itchier skin.
Many common household items are also potential environmental irritants and can cause allergic reactions leading to an eczema flare. Additional common triggers of eczema may include:
- extended exposure to dry air, extreme heat or cold
- some types of soap, shampoo, bubble bath, body wash, facial cleansers
- laundry detergents and fabric softeners with chemical additives
- certain fabrics like wool or polyester in clothing and sheets
- surface cleaners and disinfectants
- natural liquids like the juice from fruit, vegetables and meats
- fragrances in candles
Why Is My Contact Dermatitis Spreading
Allergic contact dermatitis frequently appears to spread over time. In fact, this represents delayed reactions to the allergens. Several factors may produce the false impression that the dermatitis is spreading or is contagious. Heavily contaminated areas may break out first, followed by areas of lesser exposure.
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Can You Catch Eczema From Another Person Who Has It
So can you catch eczema from someone else or give your eczema to someone? In a word, no both Prete and Dr. Rieder emphasize that eczema is NOT contagious. You are just genetically predisposed to it or not, most of the time, Prete explains. For instance, even if you share a bed every night with someone who has eczema, you wont suddenly develop it on your own, she says.
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What Can I Expect If Ive Been Diagnosed With Eczema
Nearly half of children with eczema will outgrow the condition or experience great improvement by the time they reach puberty. Others will continue to have some form of the disease. For adults with eczema, the disease can be generally well-managed with good skin care and treatment, although flare-ups of symptoms can occur throughout life.
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Have You Tried This Medicine
Karina finds this frustrating to hear, and she’s even been asked it by doctors. “They’re not always as sensitive to it as they should be,” she says. There is no magic bullet for eczema, and people with long-term, chronic eczema have likely tried many different remedies. ” say, ‘Have you tried this medicine?’ and it’s something you’ve tried four times before,” Karina says.
First Lets Dig Into The Basics Of What Eczema Is
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, has the capacity to make your skin itchy, inflamed, and basically as dry as the sands of hell. Common symptoms include thick, cracked, scaly skin and red or brownish-gray patches that can show up anywhere but are most likely to develop on your hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, and inside the bends of your elbows and knees, according to the Mayo Clinic. Eczema can also manifest as weepy little bumps that might get all crusty when you scratch them, and the scratching itself can leave you with raw, tender, swollen skin.
If you have eczema, you might experience flare-ups of your symptoms sandwiched in between periods when your skin doesnt bother you much. While eczema can be manageable, mainly through moisturizers to combat itching and drugs to fight inflammation and infections in open sores or cracked skin, theres no cure for the condition.
Because of the visible-to-everyone nature of eczema, living with it can be very stigmatizing, Matthew Lewis, MD, MPH, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Stanford Hospital and Clinics, tells SELF. It can be embarrassing for people to be out in public with rashes on their skin that others mistake for a contagious infection, especially for younger people like kids and teenagers.
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