In the United States, one in 10 people suffer from eczema. But even though it's a common condition, there's still a lot of misunderstanding surrounding it. October is Eczema Awareness Month, and the goal is to lessen the confusion regarding this chronic skin condition and destigmatize it.Eczema can take a mental and emotional toll on patients, and other people's judgments only make it harder for them. With understanding comes empathy, compassion, and action.
Debunking the Most Common Eczema Myths
Various eczema myths have been around for too long. It's time to debunk the most common ones.
Myth #1: Eczema Is Contagious
Eczema is a genetic condition, meaning it's not contagious. You won't catch it if you come near or rub against someone who suffers from it. And if you have it, you don't have to worry about passing it on to someone else.
Myth #2: Stress Causes Eczema
Stress doesn't cause eczema, but it can worsen the condition. There's a distinction between the two. When you're stressed, you release hormones that can trigger flare-ups. You're also more likely to scratch when stressed, further irritating your skin and worsening the condition. According to a study, meditation
can help individuals destress, sleep better, and cope with itchy skin. While meditation isn't a replacement for medical treatment, it's a promising complement.
Myth #3: Eczema Is Curable
While we wish this myth were true, there's no cure for the chronic skin condition. However, patients can go into remission. Moisturizing is the best way to keep the symptoms at bay, especially during the winter. Wash yourself in the shower with a gentle cleanser and follow up with a moisturizing cream, which you reapply once more during the day. Prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications offer some relief to those with eczema. Some patients may also require oral medication to help with the itchiness.Phototherapy or light therapy is another treatment option for eczema patients. Exposure to UV light can reduce the white blood cells that cause inflammation. It also smooths out lesions, preventing skin thickening. While you can't fully cure eczema, you can manage the symptoms through maintenance and treatments.
Myth #4: Eczema Goes Away on Its Own
The belief that eczema will clear up on its own is dangerous. Ignoring the issue will only lead to more inflammation and scratching, increasing the chances of a skin infection. The key to eczema is early detection and treatment. When you act fast, you can prevent the scratch-inflammation-infection cycle. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for you. It also helps to make lifestyle changes like moisturizing regularly, avoiding excessive sweating, and using no-fragrance products.
Myth #5: Eczema Is Not a Big Deal
Many who don't suffer from eczema see it as a superficial problem. If you're stressing over it, it must mean you're too concerned with your appearance. But eczema goes beyond looks. It can be debilitating when all you can think about is how itchy your skin is. It can affect various aspects of life, including school, work, and relationships.Eczema can also take a toll on a person's health. According to a study, eczema patients are likelier to smoke and drink
. They're also more prone to diabetes and cardiovascular disease because they're less likely to exercise. In addition, they're at higher risk of anxiety and depression
Why Eczema Awareness Is Important
The Eczema Awareness campaign is an opportunity to fight stigma, promote advancements in eczema treatments, and voice support for those battling the condition. There are various ways to promote the cause.You can change your profile picture, post educational graphics, use dedicated hashtags, and donate. If you have eczema and are comfortable sharing your story, you can encourage those going through it. For more information, contact Complete Family Dermatology at (402) 423-1111.