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What is eczema? - Dermclass by La Roche-Posay




If you have skincare questions, we have answers. From acne, to eczema and sensitive skin, we are looking at some of the most common questions and associated myths, as well as providing dermatologist advice on what works and what doesn’t.

What is eczema?

What is eczema?

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Eczema describes multiple types of inflammatory skin condition. None are contagious, but one type is hereditary. Eczema is a skin condition that can affect small patches of your skin or your entire body and manifests in rough, irritated, red skin that itches and sometimes bleed. Though the symptoms are similar, don't confuse it with psoriasis! For more information on eczema, watch our DERMCLASS videos on how to treat eczema and what causes eczema to flare up.

What is eczema?

Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin. It has a number of different signs and symptoms such as redness, flakiness or scaliness. The skin can be itchy, hot and sometimes even thick to the touch. Some people who suffer from eczema experience pain as well. Eczema is a skin disease which can affect people of all ages, small patches of the body or the entire body.

There are multiple types of eczema:
- Atopic dermatitis is a genetic form,
- Contact dermatitis has to do with products or ingredients that touch the skin,
- Seborrheic dermatitis is a type that is often seen in creases of the face and on the scalp.

Is eczema contagious?

Eczema is not contagious. If someone has eczema and you touch them or go close to them, you’re not going to catch their eczema!
There is often confusion between eczema and another skin condition known as psoriasis, which is not contagious either. It is difficult for people to tell the difference because the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis can be quite similar. They both present itchy, red, and scaly skin, and can affect similar parts of the body. Some of the distinct differences that dermatologists see is that psoriasis tends to be more pink than it is red. In psoriasis you often see thicker areas called plaques. You can also have psoriasis in more classic areas such as the elbows, the knees and the scalp. If you are struggling with whether you have eczema or psoriasis, the best thing to do is seek the expertise of a board-certified dermatologist who can give you the right diagnosis, and then lead you to the appropriate treatment.

How do we treat eczema?

Step 1: Gently cleanse your skin


When seeking a body cleanser suitable for eczema-prone skin types, look for fragrance-free, alcohol-free and soap-free cleansers. This will ensure a gentle cleanse that will not disrupt your skin barrier. Protecting Skin's moisture barrier is key to helping reduce the look of flare-ups. Stripping the skin leads to moisture loss and itchy skin. Lipikar Syndet AP+M is a gentle, fragrance-free, alcohol-free and soap-free cleanser that is also safe for newborns.

Step 2: Hydrate and soothe your skin


Body lotions that are great for eczema-prone skins are usually thicker than a typical lotion. This is fine - you need something that will effectively lock in moisture to soothe your eczema-prone skin. Shea butter is a great ingredient to nourish and moisturize your eczema-prone skin. Niacinamide is another ingredient that you should look out for. Finally, new research is revealing the role of the skin microbiome, the community of bacteria living on the surface of your skin, on eczema management. It is becoming clear that a balanced skin microbiome can ease your symptoms and reduce the frequency of flare-ups. Look out for products that balance the microbiome through prebiotic and postbiotic properties, such as La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+.

Step 3: On-the-go eczema treatment


Sometimes, your eczema flares up and begins to itch when you are not home. It can be inconvenient to apply cream at the workplace, in school or even at the gym. Therefore, look for an anti-itching stick to soothe your dry skin and prevent yourself from scratching your skin with your nails and aggravating your symptoms! The La Roche-Posay Lipikar Stick AP+M comes in a portable format that you rub on your itchy skin like a deodorant for instant relief.

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