Eczema is a specific type of skin inflammation. It often appears in patches and is characterized by redness, swelling, pain, and especially itching. These patches may ooze (acute eczema), peel, form scabs, or even thicken in chronic cases. Before we go any further, let’s learn about all the eczema types that might appear on the skin and what makes them different, with the help of Dr. Sawsan Allam, dermatologist, and cosmetologist.
Why does eczema happen?
According to Dr. Sawsan Allam, eczema is related to a genetic variation that affects the skin’s ability to protect itself from environmental factors.
When an irritant or allergen from outside or inside the body “activates” the immune system, it produces inflammation. It is this inflammation that causes the symptoms common to most eczema types.
There is no cure for eczema, but most people can handle their symptoms by following treatment and avoiding irritants. Eczema is not contagious, so you cannot pass it on to another person.
What are the signs of eczema?
Eczema symptoms can be different from a person to another. And your flare-ups won’t always be in the same place.
No matter which part of your skin is affected, eczema almost always causes itching. Sometimes the itching starts before the rash. According to Dr. Sawsan Allam, your skin can also be :
Keep reading to take a closer look at the different eczema types and how to treat them.
What are the different eczema types?
There are many types of skin eczema and each has its own symptoms and triggers. An eczema specialist is your best source for a correct diagnosis. According to Dr. Sawsan Allam, there are 7 types of eczema.
Here is a brief description of the 7 types of eczema:
1- Atopic dermatitis
This is what people usually mean when they say “eczema”. Dr. Sawsan Allam states that atopic eczema is a chronic condition that appears on joints such as the knees or elbows and even around the neck with flare-ups or attacks.
2- Contact dermatitis
It occurs when your skin comes in contact with an irritant or allergen and becomes inflamed.
It is the result of intense itching and scratching, so intense that it irritates the nerve endings of the skin and results in thick, leathery patches of discolored skin.
It occurs in areas of your body where there are many sebaceous glands. When it appears on the scalp, it is called dandruff.
5- Stasis dermatitis
This type of dermatitis results from a problem with blood circulation in the veins and occurs when pressure builds up, often in the legs, and fluid leaks from the veins. Dr. Sawsan Allam states that it is characterized by itching, a dry, scaly rash, hyperpigmented skin, pain and warmth in the legs, and swelling of the ankles that tends to improve during sleep but swells upon waking.
6- Nummular eczema
This type of eczema looks different from the others. People with this type of eczema have round sores, often after a skin injury such as a burn or an insect bite.
7- Dyshidrotic eczema
This condition manifests as small, itchy, fluid-filled blisters that can lead to scaling and cracking of the skin. Dr. Sawsan Allam indicates that dyshidrotic eczema is characterized by an itchy skin on the hands and feet.
It is possible to have more than one type of eczema on the body at the same time. Each form of eczema has its own triggers and treatment requirements, which is why it is important to consult a healthcare professional who is specialized in treating eczema. Dermatologists, in particular, can help you identify the types of eczema you have and how to treat and prevent flare-ups.
How to treat the different eczema types?
If you suffer from painful, uncomfortable, and itchy skin, it is likely that you have developed one of the different types of eczema.
The goal of eczema treatment is to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.
For all types of eczema, cleansing and moisturizing are key to prevent itching, irritation, and thickening of the skin.
1- Cleanse: Regular cleansing is important at all stages of eczema, as cleansing helps prevent infection of your fragile skin. Mild cleansers are recommended because they are less drying and less irritating to eczema-prone skin. That’s why we recommend the following products.
Eau Thermale Avene XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil
A-Derma Exomega Control Emollient Shower Oil
Ducray Dexyane Ultra-Rich Cleansing Gel
2- Moisturize: One of the most important things you can do is to get into the habit of moisturizing your skin immediately after a shower or bath. Washing and moisturizing should go hand in hand. Moisturize your skin daily with a rich oil-based cream to form a protective barrier against the irritants. If you don’t apply a moisturizer immediately after bathing, the water in your skin will evaporate and cause the skin to dry out.
Below are the top eczema creams to keep your skin smooth, moisturized, and itch-free.
Eau Thermale Avene XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream
A-Derma Exomega Control Emollient Cream
A-Derma Exomega Control Emollient Balm
Ducray Dexyane Anti-Scratching Emollient Cream
3- Treat: If you have eczema lesions, you must use a cream that treats and promotes their disappearance, limiting their reappearance. That’s why we recommend the following product that will soothe the itching and reduce the intensity of the signs of inflammation.
Ducray Dexyane MeD Soothing Repair Cream
In case you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis on your scalp, you can use an anti-dandruff shampoo to reduce oiliness and help treat this condition.
Here’s a seborrheic dermatitis shampoo that contains ciclopiroxolamine to fight the symptoms of this skin condition, such as dandruff, and relieve irritated scalp.
Kelual DS Anti-Dandruff Treatment Shampoo
In addition to shampoos, you can use the cream below, formulated for the care of seborrheic dermatitis on the face. This cream removes flakes in areas particularly prone to seborrheic dermatitis.
Kelual DS Squamo-reducing Soothing Cream
Tips for reducing eczema flare-ups
Here are some ways to prevent eczema flare-ups and manage symptoms:
- Apply cold compresses to your skin to relieve itching.
- After your bath, gently blot your skin with a soft towel. Never rub.
- Avoid scratching as this may lead to an infection.
- Use fragrance-free detergents, makeup, and other skin care products.
- Wear gloves and protective clothing when handling chemicals.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing made of soft fibers, such as cotton.
What makes eczema worse? Dr. Sawsan Allam asserts that eczema can worsen when you come into contact with irritants, allergens, or environmental factors.
So a good skin care routine involves taking active steps to avoid flare-ups.