The 7 Year Itch has nothing on this skin condition that affects millions of people. There are many different forms, and in some cases they go undiagnosed or unreported. With the help of The National Eczema Society, I will attempt to shed some light…and possibly some relief.
Some forms of Eczema are less common or seen later in life (past age 60-70) include Gravitational Eczema, Discoid Eczema, and Asteatotic Eczema. For the sake of keeping things simple, I will focus on some of the more common forms.
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis is caused mainly by known skin irritants: such as bleach, cleaning agents, fragrances, detergents, salts, synthetic skincare ingredients, and dyes. This is one reason why so many companies vow to exclude these irritating ingredients from their products. Symptoms can range from mild red patches to severely inflamed areas that crack, weep and itch. (My massage therapist friend used to get this form of Eczema every once in a while from too many sauna and Vichy shower treatments mixed with harsh salts used in body scrubs.)
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis, just like its name infers, is caused by allergies to certain topical ingredients that can be seen as non-irritating for most people. When this certain ingredient (or chemical) is introduced to the skin over and over, the skin builds up sensitivity to it and reacts in the form of mild to severe redness and sometimes even cracking or weeping skin. This form is less common than irritant contact dermatitis.
- Atopic Eczema is seen as patches of rough, red itchy skin caused by flare-ups from common allergens found in the home like pet hair, dust, and mites, as well as extreme conditions and temperatures. It mostly affects infants and small children, and is usually gone by teenage years.
- Pompholyx Eczema affects the fingers, palms of hands, toes, and sole of feet (although it can lead to other forms of Eczema). It usually starts as blisters that can burst and start to itch like crazy. The cause is still not fully known, but has been linked to stress (mental and emotional), certain mineral sensitivities and reactions to intense heat.
- Seborrhoeic Eczema starts as dandruff on the scalp and can then spread to the face. It is mostly seen only on face neck and scalp, and can affect both children and adults. This is the most traditional and common form of Eczema (what we usually picture when we think of this skin condition.)
*For some great tips on preventing flare-ups as well as managing and treating minor forms of Eczema, stay tuned for our next post!