This “fun fact” caught our eye: eczema is the Greek word for “bubbling” or “boiling” over. It makes sense then that the word eczema is applied to a variety of skin conditions that can cause an itchy, red rash or raised skin. Dermatologists use eczema to describe skin conditions that that can cause the skin to swell and discolor. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which is why some doctors may use eczema and dermatitis interchangeably.
We’ve got a few more eczema facts for you:
- Have no fear! Eczema is common — more than 30 million Americans experience it, and it is not dangerous.
- Why, you ask? The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it is likely related to a mix of factors (such as genetics, bacteria, environmental conditions, or immune system dysfunction).
- Around the bend: Eczema typically affects the insides of the elbows, backs of the knees, and anywhere else that bends.
- Don’t cancel your Saturday night plans! While you may not love how your itchy skin looks, eczema is not contagious.
- Young at heart: it’s also common to see eczema patches on babies; in fact, most people are diagnosed with eczema when they are babies or young children.
While eczema is known for its “look,” the “feel” is also a factor: eczema is known for its intense itch and the dreaded “itch-scratch” cycle is prevalent. Doctors encourage you not to keep scratching, as it will only make it worse. While there is no cure for eczema, it is a manageable condition and there are a variety of treatments to help the itch, such as over-the-counter treatments (including steroid-free options!) and prescription medications. Doctors also frequently tell their patients to adopt a healthy bathing and moisturizing regimen.