Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is that inflammatory disorder where the skin becomes swollen, red, dry and itchy. It is accompanied by an overactive immune system and is often a chronic, long-lasting condition that affects young and old; not only on a physical level, but on an emotional and social level too.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. It is no wonder that eczema can negatively impact one’s quality of life. Besides the daily challenges eczema sufferers’ face, studies show that personal relationships are affected too and that feelings of stigmatisation are very common.
Eczema can cause a negative body image among sufferers. They experience feelings of unattractiveness, rejection and stigmatisation. They tend to avoid social activities and the exchange of tenderness with existing partners. These negative emotions may lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression too.
The itchiness of eczema can be unbearable and could affect the quality of sleep, the ability to work and the general performance of daily activities. The subsequent exhaustion and irritability can add to emotional distress, leading to further anxiety among sufferers’ and their families.
The best strategy to treat eczema is to prevent outbreaks. The exact cause of eczema, like with many other autoimmune disorders, is not always known. There are however triggers or irritants that cause the symptoms of eczema to flare-up. Things like soaps and detergents, temperature extremes, abrasive fabrics and food allergies can aggravate the skin. Learn what your triggers are and take special care to avoid them.
When symptoms flare-up, avoid scratching. Scratching the rash can make it itchier and cause more inflammation. Once the skin barrier is broken, the skin can become infected by bacteria which are believed to aggravate eczema. Use an ointment that reduces the itch and acts as a skin purifier to prevent any infection. A natural ointment, like Clear Skin Gel that can be used as often as needed, is recommended.
Last, but not least, consider the impact that eczema has on your social functioning and psychological well-being. Seek help though family members, friends, support groups or psychologists if you find that you are struggling to cope. Stress may exacerbate eczema, so it is important to keep it in check.
Learn more about how you can manage your eczema.