So your skin has seemed extra dry and itchy lately. Maybe it’s peeling and cracking and you’re beginning to wonder if it’s just lack of moisturizer or if something else is at play. Something like eczema. Well, don’t worry. We’ve created a checklist of the most common eczema symptoms and how to tell if you’re suffering from dermatitis.
Just to be clear, it is important to note that both “eczema” and “dermatitis” are general terms that people, even doctors, use interchangeably. They use the words to describe any topical inflammation of the skin. There are various types of dermatitis and eczema conditions that determine the use of either term. But for now, we will focus on the various symptoms of basic inflammation.
One could say that this is eczema’s calling card. Eczema is typically itchy, ranging from mild to severe. This itchiness is persistent and rarely goes away with the use of moisturizers. Scratching the inflamed area can often make the symptoms worse, thus further inflaming the skin.
With eczema, the itching is usually the result of extremely dry skin. In these problem areas, the skin has a hard time absorbing and retaining moisture. So throughout the day, you may have bouts of dryness accompanied by the infuriating itchiness.
Dryness and scratching ultimately cause the skin to become rough and scaly. As we mentioned, scratching the skin sends the inflammation into overdrive. This is what is occurring when the skin becomes rough to the touch, which ironically causes even more itching.
This vicious cycle of itching and scratching can really damage the skin. So much so that you may find that the infected area has developed dark-colored blotches. Unfortunately, this discoloration sticks around for quite some time. In some cases, the discoloration may remain even after treatment.
In the more severe cases, the inflamed area may crust over and begin to ooze. This usually occurs when the individual scratches constantly. It may also be a sign of infection. So if you notice oozing of any kind, talk to your doctor right away.
Some individuals suffering from eczema may find swelling in certain areas of the infected region. This symptom does not appear in everyone and it usually doesn’t show up in all infected areas.
While these are the most common identifiers of eczema, remember that symptoms vary from person to person. Some may experience more severe symptoms while others are lucky enough to have mild symptoms. We encourage you to use this checklist only as a means to identify your own symptoms. Eczema requires a proper diagnosis from a medical professional in order to be treated effectively. And remember, if you believe that you have eczema, DO NOT SCRATCH. We know this is easier said than done, but scratching inflamed skin is a sure-fire way to worsen the symptoms, cause infection, and expand the damaged area, possibly leaving behind a lasting effect.