Eczema is not an allergy, it is an atopic condition. In other words, it is associated with allergies and other atopic conditions such as asthma and hay fever. In eczema, the skin’s protective barrier is defective, allowing allergens and irritants to penetrate deeply and cause inflammation, resulting in the symptoms of eczema (itching, redness, dry patches, etc.).
Causes of Eczema
Atopic eczema runs in families: This is because it has a genetic component. If atopic eczema runs in your family, it simply means your skin is less good at producing moisturizing oily substances, making it very dry. Why’s that an issue? Your skin is more vulnerable to a world of allergens and irritants, which can penetrate the skin and cause intense inflammation and itching.
Eczema is also an “atopic” condition which goes hand in hand with problems such as hay fever, asthma and food allergies. Atopic individuals have a genetic predisposition to producing a type of antibody called IgE which causes allergic reactions in different parts of the body like the eyes, nose, lungs, gut and skin. These antibodies are thought to play a role in atopic eczema by triggering histamine release.
Environmental factors such as pollution may also explain the significant increase in atopic dermatitis over the past few years. There is even evidence that an imbalance in skin’s friendly bacteria may be a factor in atopic eczema.
Eczema in Babies
Atopic eczema is very dry skin that feels tight and itchy. It appears mainly on the face in babies. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis on the face also include flakiness and rough red patches. The visible signs of atopic eczema on the face can have a genuine impact a child’s well-being as he or she can feel embarrassed or anxious in public. As the child gets older, the eczema patches become located mainly on the neck and in the skin folds around the elbows, wrist and behind the knees. The symptoms include patches of dry, intensely itchy skin, often with visible scratch marks. Over time, the skin can become thick and leathery in a process called “lichenification.” If your child has any of those symptoms, consider seeing your dermatologist.
The good news is that with the right treatment and daily care routine in between crisis, your child’s atopic eczema can be effectively managed almost to the point of becoming a non-issue.
Prevention of Eczema
Is it possible to prevent eczema? Yes and no. Many of the factors involved in causing eczema are genetic, such as a deficiency in skin’s surface barrier and the tendency towards atopy. Unprecedented clinical studies have yet recently demonstrated that using emollients as of the first three weeks of life reduces the risk of developing atopic eczema-prone skin of 50%.*
If atopic dermatitis or eczema runs in your family, you are more likely to develop eczema. But this is not to say that you can’t take action: with the right management, symptoms such as itching can be quickly minimized.
To keep atopic eczema-prone skin hydrated and happy, use a soap substitute or Syndet in the shower, and apply a rich emollient twice daily to replenish skin’s microbiome (the microorganisms that live on skin and help maintain its balance). You can also mist the skin with naturally soothing thermal spring water to help take the sting out of itching.
Routine for Eczema Prone skin
While scratching can temporarily relieve the itch, it will only maintain the eczema as scratching skin further damages its protective barrier. The result is a highly frustrating itch-scratch cycle. To break the vicious circle of atopic dermatitis or eczema, it is therefore important to soothe this itchiness.
Atopic dermatitis needs specific treatment during flare-ups and a suitable maintenance routine:
Cleanse gently with Lipikar Syndet AP+ to help restore the comfort. Lipikar syndet is an ultra-gentle wash in a creamy gel texture. It’s soap-free, and fragrance-free. Suitable for new borns, children and adults. Cleanses gently, does not sting eyes and rinses off easily.
• Apply Lipikar Baume AP+ at least twice daily. Lipikar baume replenishes, moisturizes and soothes skin. Suitable for new borns, children and adults. For face & body. Non-greasy, easy application and quickly absorbed.
• Relieve scratching urges with Lipiar Stick AP+ throughout the day. Suitable for babies, children and adults. For face & body. Allergy tested, paraben-free and fragrance-free
Tips: Atopic prone skin is characterized by a dry skin condition triggering itching which can disturb children during the night… and their parents too! Help everyone to get a good night's sleep by:
1. Maintaining the bedroom temperature between 18 and 20 degrees: This will prevent the atmosphere from becoming too dry.
2. Avoid foaming products which can be harsh on skin
3. Be sure to use shampoos suitable for the most sensitive skin after 3 years old.
4. When you have a dry skin, it is essential to avoid excessive sweating, which could cause irritation. Wool and synthetic fabrics should be avoided. Instead opt for breathable cotton.