ECZEMA

Atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema is an itchy skin condition that is very common in babies and children. In fact, as many as 15-20% of children under the age of 7 have eczema; a figure that has skyrocketed over the past 30 years. In 50% of cases, atopic dermatitis resolves by the age of 5, but it may persist into adolescence and adulthood.*

*Source: CHU Nantes, unity of cancérology & dermatology, spécialisation atopic dermatitis, april 2015

YOUR QUESTIONS
OUR ANSWERS

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What does eczema look like?

In babies, eczema causes rough, flaky red patches particularly on the cheeks and chin. In older children and adults the eczema patches become located mainly on the neck and in the skin folds around the elbows, wrists and behind the knees. Eczema patches can have scratch marks and may bleed. Blisters can also form and ooze. Over time, the skin can become thickened and leathery.


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How do you get eczema?

Eczema is a genetic condition that runs in families. The skin is "constitutionally" dry, meaning it has a weakened barrier against allergens and irritants, allowing them to penetrate skin and cause inflammation. In adults, eczema can be caused by professions that involve frequent hand washing such as hairdressing and nursing. Environmental triggers for eczema include house dust mite.

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Is eczema itchy?

Yes! Itching or pruritus is one of the primary features of eczema. The skin’s surface barrier is defective, meaning allergens and irritants can penetrate deeply, causing inflammation and release of the itch molecule histamine. Dry itchy eczema can be treated with soap substitutes and twice daily emollient application using a product that rebalances skin’s friendly bacteria.

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Is eczema an allergy?

Eczema is not an allergy, it is an atopic condition. In other words, it is associated with allergies and other atopic conditions such as asthma and hay fever. In eczema, the skin’s protective barrier is defective, allowing allergens and irritants to penetrate deeply and cause inflammation, resulting in the symptoms of eczema (itching, redness, dry patches, etc.).

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What causes eczema in babies?

Eczema is a hereditary condition that runs in families. The skin does not produce enough oily substances to protect itself, leaving it vulnerable and open to attack from allergens and irritants. This causes the skin to lose water, becoming dry and itchy, often on the cheeks, chin and joints. Most children outgrow eczema by school age, but it can persist into adulthood in some cases.


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TRUE
OR FALSE

ATOPIC DERMATITIS
CAN BE CONTAGIOUS.

FALSE

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a genetic disease and is in no way contagious. The treatment for atopic dermatitis symptoms is based on soap substitutes, emollients and topical corticosteroids.
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CAN DIET
AGGRAVATE ECZEMA?

TRUE

Certain foods can act as eczema triggers and cause flare-ups. If you think food may be an aggravating factor for eczema in you or your child, see a doctor as they can run blood tests and skin prick tests to see if you are allergic to different foods (the usual suspects are peanuts, milk, soy, wheat, fish and egg).
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SCRATCHING ECZEMA
STOPS IT FROM ITCHING.

FALSE

Scratching triggers the vicious circle of atopy: fingernails damage the already fragile skin, allowing more allergens and irritant agents to penetrate, leading to even more scratching and more damaged skin. LIPIKAR Baume AP+ replenishes skins’ surface lipids, helping to space out flare-ups and reducing night-time scratching by half.
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ATOPIC DERMATITIS
DISAPPEARS OVER TIME.

TRUE

Depending on the child, atopic dermatitis can last between a few months or years. Half of children with atopic eczema as babies are cured by the age of five. In some cases, atopic eczema persists into adulthood, but this is impossible to predict. There is no definitive cure for eczema, but it can be managed with the right treatment.
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WHAT IS
ECZEMA?

But what exactly is atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema? It’s a condition where the skin does not secrete sufficient surface lipids (skin’s natural moisturisers), meaning it is “constitutionally” dry. As a result, some allergens and irritants - think harsh laundry detergents or house dust mite - may penetrate the skin, where they cause itching and inflammation. 

What does eczema look like? Atopic eczema causes itchy and often angry looking red patches of skin, frequently on the face in babies, and in the skin folds around the elbows, wrists and knees in older children.

ECZEMA
AND ATOPY

Eczema is also known as “atopic dermatitis” or “atopic eczema” because it is associated with a condition called atopy. If you are atopic, this means you have a genetic predisposition to developing allergies. Eczema often goes hand in hand with other “atopic” or “allergic” conditions like hay fever and asthma, as well as food allergies. Like eczema, the prevalence of atopy is rising sharply. In 1960, atopy affected 5-10% of the population whereas today that figure is more like 10-20%.

ATOPIC ECZEMA
AND QUALITY OF LIFE

Atopic eczema is more than just a skin condition, as chronic itching (“pruritus”) can be highly annoying and distracting too. For example, at school, constant itching can really take its toll on your child’s ability to concentrate. At night, itching and scratching can make sleeping difficult, causing a great deal of frustration and anxiety for both children and their parents!

Luckily, expert help is at hand in the pharmacy. Swipe to learn all about the top solutions (and lifestyle hacks) that can rapidly help get atopy-prone skin back in its itch-free comfort zone.

In the subsections below, you’ll also find information about what causes atopic eczema prone skin and how to prevent it, as well as a dedicated section on atopic eczema in babies and children explaining how to stay on top of atopy at school, during sport and at bedtime too.

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know?

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Out of all diseases, atopy is the condition with the 2nd greatest impact on quality of life, particularly due to its effect on sleep loss.

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Source: A comparative study of impairment of quality of life in children with skin disease and children with other chronic childhood diseases. P.E. Beattie* and M.S. Lewis-Jones. Department of Dermatology, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9SY, U.K.*Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow, U.K.

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DEAR
READERS

The information displayed here is intended for general educational purposes only and should not in any case be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any medical question.