October is Eczema Awareness month. Around the world, 10-20% of children and 1-3% of adults have eczema. An estimated 60% of people with this condition develop it in their first year while 90% develop it by year five. Learn more about a common skin condition that affects millions of adults and children including different types of eczema, its symptoms, diagnosis as well as typical treatment options.
Children in particular are affected by this condition which can severely impact quality of life and self-esteem. Because this disease affects so many people, there is a mountain of misinformation about eczema. Some common myths include:
1. Changing diet by removing a food or group of foods will cure eczema
While some forms of eczema (contact dermatitis) could be caused by an external allergen or irritant, the most common form of eczema (atopic dermatitis) is caused by our body's immune response. Years of research has proven there is no cure for atopic dermatitis. Reducing or removing consumption of a food item such as eggs, milk, nuts, or fish may diminish consumption of an essential nutrient and cause harm.
2. Children can outgrow eczema
Sometimes atopic dermatitis can go away on its own. Other times, it can remain a lifelong condition. There is no way to know which route your child's condition could take. To prevent it from worsening, dermatologists recommend treating it.
3. All eczema is the same
Eczema refers to a family of medical conditions that share a common set of characteristics - including patches of itchy, inflamed and dry or crusty skin. Each of these may present similarly but may have different causes and treatment options
4. Reducing bathing helps with eczema
Some people think because eczema presents with dry skin, reducing bathing which generally strips the body's natural oils will help with the underlying eczema. Medical research proves otherwise. Taking short showers with lukewarm water, in fact, helps with eczema management because it removes bacteria and other germs from the skin which can cause skin infections. These infections are common among eczema patients.
Fortunately, eczema is widely researched with a variety of options for helping patients. A consultation with our board-certified dermatologist can detect you or your child's eczema or help with ongoing management.