What is Eczema

What is Eczema

Eczema

Eczema is a dry, itchy, red skin condition that can appear anywhere on the body and vary in severity. Symptoms of mild eczema include itching and redness while severe eczema can appear inflamed, cracked and scaly. Usually, eczema goes through cycles of getting worse (flare-ups) and clearing up again.

Eczema is common, normally appearing during childhood and it often runs in families. Although 2 out of 3 people grow out of it, eczema can continue into adolescence and adult life.

Around 1 in 5 experience eczema at some point in their life.

Eczema normally flares up as a result of an allergic (atopic) reaction to a sensitiser or irritant. People who suffer with atopic eczema are more likely to suffer from other allergic conditions, such as asthma or hayfever. When eczema flares up it is important to try to avoid scratching as this can damage the skin leaving it vulnerable to infection.

Eczematous skin – Dysfunctional or damaged skin barrier.

With eczema, your skin can't produce enough of the oils that help to form and maintain its natural protective barrier. The reduced lipid levels are associated with the shrinking of the skin cells or bricks. As the cells shrink they leave gaps in the barrier and your skin loses water and becomes dry and cracked.

The best way to describe eczematous skin is like a brick wall without enough mortar:

  • Without mortar, a brick wall is weak and lets water through
  • Like the brick wall, without moisture and enough oil, the skin’s structure is weak and lets water through making it dry, itchy and red.
  • With mortar, a brick wall is strong and watertight.
  • Applying Diprobase to your skin fills up the gaps, like mortar, making your skin strong and watertight

Through these cracks, your skin may be exposed to:

  • Dirt
  • Bacteria, viruses and fungi
  • Irritants

People likely to develop eczema have an immune system that reacts slightly differently to those unlikely to develop eczema. This means the body responds differently to allergens, causing more inflammation than people with healthy immune systems.

Everyone has bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus naturally living on their skin to some degree, and it's quite common for people with eczema to have a higher number of this type of bacteria than usual. These bacteria produce substances that can aggravate the altered immune system of people with eczema causing patches of eczematous skin.

These patches are a good environment for more bacteria to grow and allow other allergens to enter the skin.

Diprobase can help to restore the skin's barrier within these patches – making the environment less suitable for bacteria and reducing the chance of allergens entering your skin.

Eczema can appear anywhere on your body, but most commonly: