Your guide to eczema
All things eczema: What is it, who gets it, different types of eczema and, of course, how do you treat it?
Let’s talk about eczema!
But before we begin, just a small heads up: It’s quite difficult describing eczema without including a lot of words ending with ‘dermatitis’. However, pinky promise that we’ll do our very best to keep it simple for you.
Dermatitis is actually another word for eczema. So it kind of makes sense that all the scientific explanations for eczema are called what they’re… well called. But we’ll get more into the different types of eczema in a minute.
Although we (not just us, but like, everyone) can’t state one single cause as to why we get eczema, we still know quite a lot about it.
For example, you’re at a higher risk of getting eczema if you have hay fever or asthma or if someone in your family has it.
We also know that it’s rooted in the immune system, which is why genetics are to blame for it (sometimes). Other times, environmental triggers (like tobacco smoke, some textile fabrics or harsh soaps) and stress are the culprits.
And if you have allergies, like pollen allergy or allergy against pet hair, it may also trigger an allergic reaction related to eczema.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition and if you have it, you may never get rid of it. However, you’ll most likely see it calming down during summer and then flare up again in winter.
Also, eczema can be very (and we mean veryyy) itchy. We’re talking dry, red, inflamed skin that just itches and itches and eventually you’ll do a good scratchy-scratch and it will be worth it for a little while, but your skin will still be red, dry and itchy.
Okay, enough itchy talk. Let’s dive into the different types of eczema and (probably most importantly if you’re dealing with eczema) what you can do to treat it.
A (somewhat) brief introduction to the different types of eczema
Eczema (or dermatitis) is a broad term, but often the one we’ll use in daily conversation because, well, the other names are super latin-sounding.
There are 8 different types of eczema, so if you thought “hey, I have eczema, let me read more about it” before you started reading, here’s your chance to identify what type of eczema you actually have.
Here’s a short-ish description of them all: Atopic dermatitisBy far the most common type of eczema that usually starts around childhood and often gets milder (yay) or completely goes away by adulthood (double-yay). If you have atopic dermatitis, you’re probably familiar with rashes in different creases of the body, like in the elbow creases and the backside of your knee. Contact dermatitisFor once a medical term that actually makes (kinda) sense! Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory reaction to certain substances, making the skin red and irritated when, you guessed it, there’s contact with the skin.
There are two types to distinguish between here: irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) and allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). We won’t go much into detail here, but just leave it at this: ICD is a chemical reaction and ACD is an allergic reaction.
Common for both of them is that you’ll typically feel a burning and stinging sensation at the affected areas 😕
Hand dermatitisThis one is easy to recognise: eczema that only affects your hands. Also, it’s a subtype of contact dermatitis, meaning you’ll probably experience this type if your hands are constantly exposed to certain substances - like if you’re a hairdresser or cleaning personnel and use harsh chemicals daily.
A not-so-fun fact about this type of eczema is that the cases of hand dermatitis have increased significantly after covid-19 due to the fact that we basically shower ourselves in hand sanitizer and wash our hands wayyyy more than we used to before.Dyshidrotic dermatitisIf your eczema shows up with small blisters on hands and feet, then you might have this type of eczema. Oh, and the blisters are often painful and itchy and filled with fluids. Neurodermatitis Neurodermatitis is similar to atopic dermatitis, and causes scaly patches (not like in a lizard-way, but if it helps thinking about it this way, then yes, very much like a lizard) to pop up on different areas of the skin.
It often appears on arms, legs, back of the neck, the scalp, backside of hands and feet, or genitals, so yeah, basically everywhere. It’s not quite certain what causes it, but stress has been identified as the primary trigger. So stay away from that.
Nummular dermatitisThis type of eczema causes round, coin-shaped spots - and if you speak latin, it makes total sense because “nummular” means “coin” in latin. So… easy to remember. If you speak latin.
Anyhow, because of the shape, it’s easy to distinguish from other types of eczema and can be triggered by insect bites, contact with certain substances, or even dry skin. Stasis dermatitisStasis dermatitis is when fluid leaks from weakened veins into the skin - causing swelling, redness, itching, and it can also be painful. It’s mostly seen among people with blood flow problems, and it often affects the lower part of the legs.Perioral dermatitisThis type of eczema shows up around the mouth and around 90% of people affected are women. It’s often confused with acne since it can show up in the form of pimples, but you’ll distinguish it by also experiencing long term irritation in the affected area.
Aaaand we’re done.
No, not quite. But that was a mouthful. We hope you’re still here, ‘cause we’re gonna talk a little bit about how you can treat your eczema (woohoo).
How you can treat your eczema (woohoo)
Obviously, we’ll recommend you to get a personalized skincare routine from NØIE to help manage your eczema. But we may be biased 😉
A lot of NØIE users deal with eczema which means that we learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to matching people with eczema with the right kind of products.
But generally speaking, keeping the skin moisturised is one very important step to calming flare ups and general flakiness and itchiness. If a super moist skin isn’t enough, prescription medicine is often a necessary part of treating eczema.