Itchy & Eczema-Prone Skin: Debunking Common Myths

If your child has red, itchy patches that she can’t stop scratching, chances are that she has very dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin. Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis(the most common form of eczema), is caused due to  factors like genetics, environmental irritants, allergens and even stress.

Since the exact cause of eczema is not known, there are a lot of misconceptions about the skin condition. Let’s find out the real truth behind some myths surrounding eczema:

Myth #1. Eczema is contagious

I have heard that so often! But there is no truth to this statement.

Eczema is a genetic condition and hence, cannot be passed on by any skin-to-skin contact. Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis says that we cannot contract eczema by rubbing against the skin of a person who has it. So now you know that your child did not get that stubborn rash at his day care!

Myth#2. Eczema has a definite cure

Alas!

The market is flooded with numerous creams and topical anti-inflammatory medicines that suppress and relieve the discomforts caused by eczema. However, there is still no permanent solution to the skin problem. But, if you take certain measures and make a few lifestyle changes, you can definitely keep your baby’s eczema in check.

And to avoid those dry, patchy rashes, your number one tool is moisturisation! Switch to a gentle baby body wash in shower and follow it up with a moisturising lotion. For severe cases, check with your doctor.

Myth #3. If you have a family history of eczema, your child will also suffer

Wrong.

Atopic dermatitis is genetic, so if it runs in your family, your child does have an increased chance of developing eczema. But that does not mean that your child will definitely develop the skin condition. In 60% of the cases, eczema appears in the first year, and in almost half of the children, it goes away by the age of two. And, as per researchers, there is a way to reduce your baby’s chances of developing eczema. How? By ensuring good moisturisation! Yes, it can be as simple as that.

Myth #4. Bathing your baby will aggravate her eczema

False!

Short durations of lukewarm baths are very soothing for the baby’s skin. Regular baths are also important to keep the baby clean and to keep infections at bay. Just make sure that you do not use any harsh washes and shampoos which are chemical-laden.

The irritants in the bath products might trigger eczema symptoms and make the condition worse. After the bath, pat her skin dry & slather a hydrating lotion all over her body.

Myth #5. Swimming is a no-no

Not really, just take your precautions.

If you’re taking your child with very dry, eczema-prone skin to swimming, do take your safety measures as the salty water could irritate her condition. Moisturise her skin well as the water could strip the skin of its natural moisture levels. Make sure she doesn’t have any open wounds or sores. After the swim, avoid hot shower and bath her with lukewarm water.

Myth #6. Eczema is caused by a bad diet

Wrong.

Some foods could trigger eczema flare-ups, but they are not the root cause of contracting the condition. Some children and adults with eczema are also allergic to foods like nuts, dairy, fruit juices and eggs, but that doesn’t mean these food items have caused their skin to be eczema-prone. 

So if your child shows eczema symptoms, don’t assume it to be due to a particular food item. And be sure to talk to your doctor before making any major changes to her diet.

 

Myth #7. You cannot live a normal life if you are suffering from eczema

Of course, you can!

As discussed earlier, we know that eczema does not have a definite cure. But you can definitely incorporate some lifestyle changes and keep your baby’s skin hydrated to keep her eczema under control. Identify the triggers that aggravate her symptoms and eliminate them from your food and surroundings.

I hope this post has shed light on some of the most common misconceptions around eczema. While this condition can be full of discomfort for you and your child, educating yourself about it is key to keeping it under control.

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