Movement is afoot to make it so.
The National Eczema Association here in the U.S. is gearing up, https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-awareness-month/
It’s been officially declared in Georgia, thanks to grassroots efforts. The same happened in Louisiana due to the efforts of then 19-year-old Abigail Llewellyn, who admits to being bullied and discriminated against throughout her life due to eczema.
‘Tis the season,
In the U.K., National Eczema Awareness Week starts in September.
World Eczema Day is in September, too. It raises awareness of a type of eczema called atopic dermatitis.
Why are there so many movements to raise eczema awareness?
Because having eczema is life-changing. It’s also common. At least 10% of people in the U.S. have some type of eczema. It’s also often hard to hide your eczema from the world. This leads to stigmatization. People with eczema suffer the symptoms of their rash, and suffer the social consequences of having a health issue that’s so public and hard to hide.
Two-thirds of people with eczema say it interferes with their job or household chores. A shocking 40% say they were turned down from a job or educational opportunity due to their disease. For those with atopic dermatitis, patients often report they are frustrated by their disease, feel angry or embarrassed by it, feel their choices in life are limited by it, and/or are bullied or stigmatized by it – and 30% of kids with eczema report significant sleep disturbances because of their skin disease.
Eczema is a big deal, and all encompassing in one’s life.
There are different types, some are easier to hide than others, but all are inflammatory skin-problems that cause suffering. They also all have a common important issue and that’s skin barrier compromise. People with eczema are the classic “sensitive skin” people. When you see products designed for sensitive skin, it’s often eczema that’s made the skin is sensitive, meaning these are products aimed to fit the skin of people suffering from eczema.
What are the main types of eczema?
This is usually inherited, starts when you are a kid and can involve your entire skin-surface. Skin barrier is weak, skin immunity is hyperactive and “atopics” often develop allergies to many things that touch their skin, including plants, metal, ingredients in skin-care products and laundry soap, wool, perfumes, etc.!
Atopics need hypoallergenic and deeply-hydrating skin care to keep their skin healthy and itch and rash-free. Atopic dermatitis often runs in families with the genetic constellation of conditions including asthma, hay fever, dry skin (ichthyosis vulgaris), and keratosis pilaris.
All members of the family have the potential for sensitive skin. At least 7+% of adults have atopic dermatitis, 13% of kids do. They need truly, hypoallergenic skin care and home-care product options. Truly hyopallergenic products are actually harder than it should be to find, and it’s why almost all the products on my website are hypoallergenic.
I even have hypoallergenic home care all-purpose cleanser concentrate and spray cleaner because of the struggle an atopic patient and I had trying to find her a home cleaning product collection that would not worsen her eyelid eczema.
To find more of my articles on atopic dermatitis skin care that I recommend to my patients click here.
Dyshydrotic Hand Eczema:
Here, hand skin seems to “auto destruct” into tiny, itchy and painful blisters. Hands need to be carefully-protected from contact with harsh things (i.e. dish soaps, solvents and many things we get into during the course of a day). They also need special hydrating-care to heal. That’s what I made my hand care kits for.
This can be due to being an atopic, or not. Delicate and ultra-thin eyelid skin will become irritated or allergic to substances the rest of the body skin tolerates. It is like a canary in a mine shaft, which means that hypoallergenic, non-irritating products are a must. So is using a deeply hydrating moisturizer so that the eczema will heal.
Click here to read more about eyelid dermatitis if this applies to you.
Know that my Home Cleaning Spray and many of my other products were specifically designed by me for my eyelid dermatitis patients.
Irritant Hand Dermatits:
Here, hand skin chaps and becomes dry, scaly, and ultimately, breaks down into fissures due to repeated contact with irritants.
These could include soaps, weather, solvents, etc.
Prevention is key and my Hand Care Kits are designed to keep hand skin from developing this common form of eczema.
My Dry Hand Skin Repair Kit helps repair the eczema after it’s started.
Asteatotoc or Nummular Eczema:
This is due to skin drying out more and more with age. It often starts on the legs or arms and skin looks either like “cracks on a dry lake bed floor” that eventually weep, or round, coin-shaped patches of eczema. Skin care is key to healing and preventing this.
Allergic Contact Eczema:
The classic example of which is poison oak or ivy. Other allergens are common causes including fragrances in products, metals, essential oils, etc. Prevention is avoiding the allergen. Healing skin with hydrating skin care is key. Also, hydrated skin is healthier and less likely to develop allergy in the first place.
This type of eczema is a break down of skin due to poor, lower-leg circulation.
Skin care to hydrate skin is important to keep skin healthy when circulation is compromised or else serious skin infection can occur. Applying a deeply hydrating skin moisturizer every day after the bath or shower is important.
Scalp and Face Seborrheic Dermatitis:
This type of eczema is also a form of eczema. It’s cause is more complex and not fully understood.
Eczema is common. Especially when you include all the forms of eczema listed above.
Some show up in youth, others manifest later in life. It’s why I think it’s smart that your skin care choices be:
- Deeply hydrating to protect precious skin barrier
- When needed, be targeted specifically at your skin problems, such as seborrhea.
I am not a fan of fragrance-rich products that taunt allergic contact dermatitis and atopic skin. I’m not a fan of needlessly harsh soaps and cleansers that break down skin barrier, putting you at risk of all these types of eczema. Nor am I a fan of watered-down moisturizers that don’t really hydrate your skin.
This October, reevaluate your skin care in light of how common eczema is. Create skin care routines with minimal allergens and irritants, that hydrate your skin to protect your skin barrier, and that specifically target skin problems wisely.
Parker Magin, PhD., et. al., Experiences of appearance-related teasing and bullying in skin diseases and their psychological sequelae: results of a qualitative study, Scandinavian Journal of Carin Sciences, 22(3), August 2008 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6712.2007.00547.x