At Petit&Jolie, we regularly get questions about dry skin and eczema. The skin does not look like it should, but the worst part is actually that it is so itchy. Very annoying! Especially when you try to explain to your baby that scratching it off limits. But what is eczema really and how do you recognize it?
Dry skin is no Eczema
Dry skin and eczema often look the same, but are different in medical perspective. Let us explain why.
With a dry skin, there is a moisture deficit in the skin. The skin seems to contract, is reddish, flaky and sometimes even has cracks and chaps. Dry skin occurs with people of all ages. It can have several causes, of which these are the most common ones:
- Low humidity or high temperature
- Air conditioning, isolation
- Excessive contact with water
- Too hot and too long showering
- Too one-sided and/or too little nutrition
Eczema is a skin inflammation. There are several types of eczema, but constitutional eczema (also called atopic) is the most common variant and occurs mainly with young children.
Hypersensitivity and phases
Atopic dermatitis is often accompanied by sensitivity to certain substances or stimuli from the environment. This predisposition is called atopy. Within families come eczema and other atopic conditions such as hay fever, asthma and food allergies, often for more than one person. (source: www.huidhuis.nl)
Eczema can be divided in two phases: the acute and chronic phase. The manifestations of the chronic and acute phase can come one after the other, but can also show up at the same time. Both eczemas can have a different appearance. Periods with little or no complaints to periods with very active eczema.
Cause of eczema
The exact cause of eczema is not known. We do know that there are different factors that play a role in the manifestation of eczema:
- Hypersensitivity or heredity
- Allergens: allergens are substances that can cause an allergy. Examples of allergens are nickel, rubber, latex and preservatives.
- Non-allergenic factors: there are also non-allergenic substances such as water, soap, wool and alcohol that may trigger or worsen eczema. Furthermore, factors such as dry skin, dry air, heat, bright sunlight, perspiration, psychological state and the overall condition of an effect on eczema. For example, tensions and stress can aggravate eczema. (source: UMC Utrecht)
Because dry skin and eczema can look very much alike, the distinction can be hard to make. The above factors can you at least give an indication. If you’re in doubt, we recommend you to pay a visit to the doctor’s office.
After finding out you or your baby have dry skin or eczema, you will probably like to get rid of it. We can definitely understand that! Soon we will write a blog about what you can do to take care of eczema. We will also tell you all about another important factor that may cause eczema: food. Keep you posted!