What is Eczema

 

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic, recurring disease.1,2 This means that the disease is always present, even though flares may come and go.1 It occurs mainly in children, with 80 % of patients experiencing symptoms by the time they are 5 years old.3 The symptoms of eczema include dry, inflamed skin and intense itching.1,4 Times when the skin becomes inflamed, very itchy and red are called “flares” (or exacerbations).1,4 The continuing itch-scratch cycle of eczema changes the integrity of the skin, damaging the skin barrier and making the symptoms worse.5 The compromised skin barrier allows irritants and allergens to penetrate the skin, which can trigger a disease flare.4

What is an Eczema flare?

Episodes where the skin becomes red, flaky and very itchy are called flares.10 These flares often occur on areas of sensitive skin, such as the eyelids, behind the ears, other parts of the face, and in the folds of joints.4

How does it affect you?

Many children with eczema feel embarrassed by the look of their skin, the constant itching, and the ongoing, sometimes involuntary scratching.1,2 These flares have a major impact on various aspects of the person’s life, affecting school performance and productivity, disturbing sleep and altering self-esteem, mood and the ability to establish and maintain relationships.1,12 Surveys have shown that most people with eczema are worried about their next eczema flare.1