Eczema is a skin disorder which affects millions of people around the world. Although it can have a significant impact on the quality of life of those who have it, many advances have been made in recent years in order to keep it under control and make life more comfortable.
10% of General Population with Eczema
This chronic condition makes itself known very early afflicts some 10% of the general population – babies who are less than a year old tend to be most affected. It usually presents with dry, red inflamed areas that are most often itchy and in the most severe instances, can cover the whole body. Triggering factors vary widely from person to person but most commonly include irritants such as perfumes, body soaps and disinfectants Allergens like house dust mites, pollen and cat dander are also major culprits while factors like temperature and humidity, stress, certain foods, infections and hormones can all precipitate an attack.
The impact on quality of life that eczema can have is sometimes equivalent to other more severe and life threatening conditions. How is this so?
Eczema’s Effects on Children and Adults
When it comes to children, their lifestyle is often limited, particularly with respect to clothing, holidays, staying with friends, owning pets, swimming or the ability to play or do sports. Symptoms of itching and soreness cause sleeplessness which leads to tiredness, mood changes and impaired functioning particularly at school.
Embarrassment, comments, teasing and bullying can cause feelings of isolation and may further lead to depression or school avoidance. The increased work in caring for a child with eczema can lead to parental exhaustion and feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anger and depression. Adult eczema patients are not immune to those negative physical and emotional factors that impact children and these consequently affect their work, relationships and social lives.
Lastly, any chronic condition that needs to be kept at bay has a financial impact that can prove to be a burden on patients and carers alike.
How to Combat Eczema
Despite the problems that eczema causes, a few simple steps and precautions may improve the quality of life of patients significantly. At the most fundamental level, triggering factors must be known and avoided. This goes hand-in-hand with proper daily care for your skin, which involves using mild soaps and emollients that are specifically for eczema-prone skin. These reduce skin dryness and strengthen the skin barrier. Showering using warm rather than hot water is also recommended to prevent skin from drying out.
Medical Treatments for Eczema
The use of certain medical treatments is inevitable to control flare-ups so it is very important to have a doctor or dermatologist who knows your medical history and who can recommend the necessary treatment early on in a flare-up. Furthermore, psychological and emotional support is available through groups and organisations such as The Malta Eczema Society.
La Roche-Posay has a wealth of experience formulating hypoallergenic products to tackle skin conditions such as eczema. The Lipikar products soothe the skin with their lipid-replenishing ingredients by re-building its barrier whilst reducing inflammation and itching. With Lipikar, the skin regains its comfort and flare-ups are spaced out.