Picture the human skin as the wall of a house:
There are two main phases in eczema: breakout and remission.
The breakout results in inflammation, itching, oozing, scabs, etc.
Remission, which occurs between two breakouts, is characterised by severe dryness.
People with the following symptoms should consult a dermatologist:
- Itchy rash - difficult to detect in infants, but sleeping disorders are an indication.
- A rough and thickened skin.
- Oozing eczema patches.
- Scabs form on the patches.
The location of the lesions provides another clue.
It varies during childhood:
- Infants often have eczema on the face, especially on the cheeks and chin.
- During childhood, it tends to occur on the knees, wrists, elbows and neck.
Breakouts usually start with red and itchy patches.
The skin gets dry, thickens and becomes rough. Eventually, it oozes and scabs appear. Scratching worsens the disease, sometimes even leading to infections.
Once the diagnosis has been established, the lesions must be treated and the skin condition quickly normalized without overprotecting the patient. The main priority in treating the disease is to restore the protective functions of the skin, which is a natural barrier preventing the penetration of external agents, rather than hunting down dust mites and pollen - an almost impossible and tiresome task for parents! Recent studies also show that removing every single aggravating factor can actually increase the risk of children developing eczema. Hence, the best step to take is to focus on treating the disease by using gentle skin cleansers, emollients and topical corticosteroids.