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Atopic dermatitis (commonly known as eczema) is an inherited, chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually appears in early childhood. Patches of skin become red, scaly and itchy.

Atopic dermatitis (commonly known as eczema) is an inherited, chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually appears in early childhood. Patches of skin become red, scaly and itchy. Sometimes, tiny blisters containing clear fluid can form and the affected areas of skin can weep. Weeping is a sign that the dermatitis has become infected, usually with the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (‘golden staph’). Eczema is not contagious. Using the right skincare products can help ease the symptoms. But it is also important to avoid skin irritants, such as soap, harsh face and body washes, hot water and synthetic fabrics. And did you know? children with eczema have a higher risk of developing food allergies, asthma and hay fever later in childhood.

Causes of eczema

Eczema is caused by a person’s inability to repair damage to the skin barrier. This is due to a mutation in the gene called filaggrin. Filaggrin is important for formation of the skin barrier. Normally, every cell in the skin has two copies of the filaggrin gene. However, people who are susceptible to eczema only have one copy of this gene.Although you only need only one copy of the gene to form a normal skin barrier, two copies are important for skin barrier repair. If a person’s skin is exposed to irritants and their skin barrier is affected, a person with only one copy of the gene may find that their ability to repair the skin barrier is limited.

Once the skin barrier is disrupted, moisture leaves the skin and the skin will become dry and scaly. Environmental allergens (irritants from the person’s surrounds) can also enter the skin and activate the immune system, producing inflammation that makes the skin red and itchy.
You are more likely to get eczema if your family has a history of eczema or allergic conditions, including hay fever and asthma.In most cases, eczema is not caused or aggravated by diet. If you feel a food is to blame, see your doctor or a dietitian for proper allergy testing and dietary advice. While eczema causes stress, and stress may increase the energy with which you scratch, stress does not in itself cause eczema.

Beth Recommends

  • Being really mindful when choosing skincare products, as you don’t want to irritate your skin more. Keep it simple and natural. Avoid skincare products with any harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances or alcohol.
  • Opt for soothing plant oils and really hydrating natural skincare products.
  • Also a diet full of healthy good fats will help to repair the skin from within, along with taking collagen supplements too.
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