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Symptoms of Eczema You Need to Be Aware Of


Eczema is a highly individual condition, and its symptoms can vary depending on your age and the specific type that you have. The common symptoms of eczema are:

  • Moderate to severe itching, especially at night or when the air is hot/humid. Typically, an eczema rash will develop after you scratch the affected area
  • Red to brownish-gray rashes on your skin, particularly on the hands, feet, wrists, ankles, nape, upper chest, around the eyes, inside the elbows and behind the knees
  • Small papules or blisters, which may ooze and crust over when you scratch it
  • Dry, cracked, thickened and/or scaly skin
  • Sensitive, inflamed skin from scratching or rubbing
  • For some people, eczema worsens periodically and then clears up for some time, sometimes even lasting several years.1 You can increase your chances of remaining symptom-free or prevent your flare-up from getting worse simply by avoiding certain factors.

    Factors That Can Cause or Worsen an Eczema Flare-Up

    Several factors or conditions can trigger/aggravate the symptoms of eczema. It is important to take note of these factors in order to avoid causing or worsening a flare-up:2

    Dry skin, which can result from long hot baths, but may also be a sign of omega-3 deficiency

    Frequent drying and wetting of the skin, because it impairs the skin barrier function

    Harsh chemicals found in soaps, detergents, cleaners, solvents and cosmetics, as these have a drying effect and cause/worsen itching

    Allergens, such as dust, mold, pollen, smoke and pet dander. In some cases, items that trap dust, including mattresses, carpets, drapes and pillows can trigger or worsen your condition.

    The immune system overreacts to the allergen, causing inflammation-producing cells to become active. These cells release chemicals that cause redness and itching

    Eggs, milk, nuts, soybeans and other food allergens, especially in infants and children

    Clothing, blankets and carpets made of wool, or any other coarse fabric

    Poorly fitting clothes that rub against the skin

    Sudden changes in heat and humidity

    Bacterial and viral infections

    Excessive sweating

    High levels of stress

    Scratching or rubbing your skin in response to itching will just worsen it, and further increase inflammation. According to Dr. Rob Hicks, “Scratching may bring temporary relief to the itch, but it actually triggers the release of the chemical called histamine, which just causes more itching.”3 This is why you should resist the urge to scratch no matter how itchy it gets.

    When to See a Doctor

    In most cases, your eczema flare-up can be managed through home remedies and self-care techniques. However, see your doctor if:4

    • You suspect that your skin is infected, such as if you notice blisters with pus, red streaks and scabs
    • Your condition is already affecting your vision
    • Your skin is painful and severe itch is distracting your from your daily routine
    • Your sleep pattern is being affected

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