Eczema is a fairly common skin disorder, characterized by patchy and inflamed skin that can blister and cause itchiness and general misery. However, while many Americans suffer from it, there’s not a whole lot of knowledge or treatments circulating out there.
The skin condition can be a reaction to a substance, but in many cases the cause is unknown. Here are six lesser-known facts about eczema, and some possible ways to find some relief without scratching all day (which will make it worse)…
1. It May be Linked to Asthma
Some experts believe that you may be at higher risk of developing the skin disorder if a family member has asthma or hay fever. According to the National Eczema Association, doctors call this connection the “atopic triad”, which also explains that 80 percent of children with eczema will have a breathing problem like asthma.
Further research has been done about the relationship of eczema and asthma. According to a Washington University article, damaged skin secretes a substance through the body and triggers asthma symptoms. This progression has been referred to as the “atopic march”.
2. It’s Likely Hereditary
The National Eczema Association also notes that you may have inherited a predisposition to having a skin problem, making it a hereditary disorder. According to experts, 8 in 10 children will develop eczema when both parents have the condition.
Research has also shown that even if only 1 parent has eczema, their child has a 6 in 10 chance of developing it. While genetics hasn’t been cornered as a primary cause, it is definitely a contributing factor.
3. Eczema Can Cause Eye Damage
We don’t normally associate skin conditions with eye problems, but according to The Eczema Society of Canada, permanent eye damage could be a side effect of having eczema.
While this complication is rare, assured the site, severe cases of skin rashes can lead to the eye problems. The organization urges you to see a doctor if you have symptoms including excessive eye watering, inflammation around the eye, or any discharge from the eye.
4. There is No Known Cure
Once you develop eczema, there is no actual way of getting rid of it completely. It’s a chronic problem that can rear its ugly head with “flare-ups”. While some experts believe the problem can be cured with steroids, they do not rid you of the skin irritation.
Many people think eczema is like acne and can be disposed of with better hygiene practices. However, acne and eczema are completely different. However, according to the website EczemaCanada.ca, some medications that cause acne can also make eczema symptoms worse.
5. Could Be An Autoimmune Disease
According to a 2015 article from Healthline, a study has shown that eczema could be an autoimmune disease (essentially when your body produces antibodies that attack your own tissue system).
The study showed that a drug called dupilumab could dull the immune response causing the skin flare-ups. The drug works by blocking key proteins that increase your body’s ability to fight off viruses, noted the article. Disclaimer: Keep in mind that scientists employed by the manufacturer of the drug conducted the study.
6. It Can be Treated Through Lifestyle
Your doctor has tools in his or her arsenal to help combat eczema, before you go a bit batty from the itchiness. While some medications (such as a topical hydrocortisone or oral antihistamines) have been shown to aid in the treatment of skin problems, making a few lifestyle changes can also help reduce the severity, noted WebMD.
The health website explains that a mild soap or moisturizer (and even a small amount of bleach added to bathwater) can help provide relief. Use synthetic soaps referred to as syndets (lipid-free cleansers) instead of standard perfumed soaps. Reduce the length and heat of your daily shower, and reduce overall stress with exercise, added the source.