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We get it—there are so many skin care concerns to keep track of. From stretch marks to rosacea, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. If you’re dealing with dry skin, you may be Googling what causes eczema, what is eczema, what does eczema look like, and more. This skin condition is extremely common, though if you haven’t had it for yourself you may not know much about it. To make things a little easier, we’ve compiled some important information on eczema causes, types, and more for you. Ready for your skin care lesson? Let’s dive right in.
You’ve likely heard the term being used, but what exactly is eczema? The word eczema means irritated skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and is also referred to as dermatitis. Eczema typically appears as itchy skin, and it can look different on different people. The AAD states that eczema can present as red bumps, dry skin, itchy skin, oozing skin, and more.
Wondering what some of the causes of eczema could be? According to the AAD, doctors aren’t sure why some individuals end up with eczema while others don’t, but there are some theories. Factors such as eczema running in your family, asthma, allergies, and living in a polluted climate such as a city could contribute to experiencing incidents of eczema. Moreover, eczema isn’t always active. What we mean by this is, eczema can be dormant but appear on skin’s surface when triggered by certain things. Some common triggers, per the AAD, include licks from a pet, scratchy clothes, excessive sweating, certain soaps and cleaning products, and dust.
If you have eczema, you don’t have to worry that you’ll give it to a friend—it’s not contagious. The National Eczema Association backs this up, confirming that eczema is not something that can be “caught.”
There are six different eczema types, and we’re here to help fill you in on all of them.
Atopic dermatitis is a common skin disease in children that typically shows up within the first year of life, according to the AAD. This form of eczema includes dry, scaly patches that often appear on the scalp, forehead, and face.
The AAD states that everyone experiences contact dermatitis at least once in their life, as this type of eczema is acquired upon contact with a skin irritant. Some common causes of this rash include poison ivy, diaper rash, and soap.
Also known as foot-and-hand eczema, per the AAD, this type of eczema involves small, deep-seated blisters typically on the hands or feet that result in dry, cracked skin after the blisters have cleared.
The AAD states that neurodermatitis, our next type of eczema, can be identified as an itchy patch that can appear anywhere on the body—most commonly the arm, leg, or back of the neck. The itchiness of this type of eczema is typically severe and is caused during a period of stress, though will persist after a stressful time subsides, according to the AAD.
Nummular dermatitis is when coin or oval-shaped sores form on the skin, often after a skin injury such as a burn or insect bite, notes the AAD.
Also referred to as venous eczema, the AAD says that stasis dermatitis occurs in individuals who have poor circulation. This poor blood flow is common on the legs and can result in swelling around the ankles, discolored skin, and varicose veins.
If you think you’re experiencing eczema symptoms, the best course of action is to visit a board-certified dermatologist. They’ll be able to help you identify whether eczema is what you’re experiencing and, if you are, help come up with a care plan. Keep in mind that different types of eczema may necessitate different treatments, so what works for one person may not work for you.
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