WHAT CAUSES ECZEMA?
HOW TO PREVENT IT?

Atopic eczema runs in families: This is because it has a genetic component. If atopic eczema runs in your family, it simply means your skin is less good at producing moisturising oily substances, making it very dry. Why’s that an issue? Your skin is more vulnerable to a world of allergens and irritants, which can penetrate the skin and cause intense inflammation and itching.

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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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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How can I get rid of eczema?

The mainstay of treatment for eczema is corticosteroid creams during acute flare-ups (as weak a steroid as possible, and never on the face) and maintenance treatment with soap substitutes for washing and regular application of emollient creams. To lastingly space out flare-ups, it is important to rebalance skin’s microbiome (the friendly bacteria that live on skin).

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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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TRUE
OR FALSE

TO PUT AN END TO DRY SKIN, IT'S IMPORTANT
TO KEEP HYDRATED.

TRUE

Eczema is caused by a deficiency in skin’s natural protective layer of lipids (its barrier function). That’s why it’s important to keep dry eczema-prone skin hydrated using a targeted moisturiser regularly and consistently, with appropriate skincare products such as Lipikar Baume AP+ or Lipikar Fluide.
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SCRATCHING ECZEMA
STOPS IT FROM ITCHING.

FALSE

Scratching triggersthe 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 byhalf.
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DRYING YOUR SKIN WITH
A HAIRDRYER CAN HELP YOUR ECZEMA.

FALSE

This is highly NOT recommended.Drying with a hair dryer is a potential eczema trigger that can cause flare-upsby “attacking” the skin and destroying the lipid film that protects it, furtheraggravating dry skin eczema. Worse still, it could burn your delicate skin.
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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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ECZEMA, ATOPY
& HISTAMINE

Eczema is also an “atopic” condition which goes hand in hand with problems such as hay fever, asthma and food allergies. Atopic individuals have a genetic predisposition to producing a type of antibody called IgE which causes allergic reactions in different parts of the body like the eyes, nose, lungs, gut and skin. These antibodies are thought to play a role in atopic eczema by triggering histamine release.

ATOPIC ECZEMA &
THE ITCH-SCRATCH CYCLE

Histamine is your body’s “itch molecule”. When this substance is released by mast cells in the skin, this leads to an immediate itching sensation. Of course, when skin itches, our automatic urge is to scratch. But the more we scratch, the more we break down skin’s surface barrier, leading to more allergen penetration and more itching. This is known as the itch-scratch cycle and atopic eczema-prone children can be particularly affected.

One of the keys to managing atopic eczema-prone skin is to prevent this vicious cycle with regular emollient application. You’ll find out more about top solutions for atopic eczema-prone skin in the dedicated section below.

THE ROLE OF THE MICROBIOME
IN ATOPIC ECZEMA-PRONESKIN

Over and above dryness, atopy and the itch-scratch cycle, new research has revealed an unexpected factor involved in atopic eczema: skin’s “microbiome”. Skin’s microbiome is the sum of micro-organisms (think of them as friends, not critters!) living at its surface.

Did you know? On healthy skin, the microbiome is like a tropical rainforest: flourishing with diversity. While on atopic eczema-prones kin, this diversity is depleted, and the microbiome is unbalanced.

This fascinating finding is opening the doors to a new era of prebiotic cares for atopic eczema-prone skin, which make use of the unique prebiotic properties of thermal water.

Is it possible to prevent eczema? Yes and no. Many of the factors involved in causing eczema aregenetic, such as a deficiency in skin’s surface barrier and the tendency towards atopy. Unprecedented clinical studies have yet recently demonstrated that using emollients as of the first three weeks of life reduces the risk of developing atopic eczema-prone skin of 50%.*

If atopic dermatitis or eczema runs in your family, you are more likely to develop eczema. But this is not to say that you can’t take action: with the right management, symptoms such as itching can be quickly minimised.

To care for atopic eczema-prone skin, use a soap substitute or Syndet in the shower and apply an emollient twice daily. These two steps will go a long way to preventing skin issues recurrence. You’ll find further, in-depth information about expert atopic eczema-prone skin solutions in the next subsection.

In the articles below, you’ll learn about very dry skin and how to take care of it and prevent it (plus an explanation on the difference between dry skin and eczema), plus information about other unexpected causes of atopic eczema such as pollution. We also provide an article to share with your atopic eczema-prone child with tips to avoid the itch-scratch cycle, and why an itch-defusing Stick could be your child’s new BFF!

*“Emollient enhancement of the skin barrier from birth offers effective atopic dermatitis prevention”, J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUNOL, VOLUME 134, NUMBER 4.

Did you
know?

DidYouKnow_Desktop_1

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.