Those without eczema often have major misconceptions about the condition and often downplay the impact it can have on our lives. Even those that are afflicted with eczema share a fair amount of misunderstanding. Whether you’re an eczema pro or rookie, let’s dive deeper into 20 of the biggest myths about eczema.
MYTH #1: Eczema is contagious - If you suffer from eczema, you may notice that friends or even family want to avoid you like the plague. Luckily, eczema is not contagious. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions though. Bad eczema flare-ups can lead to infection which can be contagious but you still can’t spread eczema to others.
MYTH #2: Eczema is a singular disease - actually, eczema refers to a group of skin conditions with the most common being Atopic Dermatitis. It’s important to understand the type of eczema you have in order to create the best treatment plan.
MYTH #3: Eczema is passed on from one’s parents - Although you may be more likely to have eczema if it runs in your family, it is not a guarantee. Secondly, Atopic dermatitis is linked to genetics while other types of eczema such as Contact dermatitis can be related to the environment.
MYTH #4: Eczema can be cured - Unlike getting over the chicken pox or the flu, eczema isn’t “cured” in the same way as other afflictions. It’s not all bad news though. When treating symptoms properly and avoiding triggers, eczema flare-ups can become so infrequent that it no longer causes problems in your life.
MYTH #5: Eczema is a children’s disease - there is a misconception that eczema is particularly prevalent with children or babies. That’s because Atopic dermatitis is likely to start in childhood and sometimes symptoms improve for adults. This doesn’t mean that millions of adults don’t suffer from eczema.
MYTH #6: Eczema will leave you with permanent scar damage - although it is possible for eczema to leave you with scars from bouts of particularly bad rashes, more likely than not, eczema will not cause permanent scarring.
MYTH #7: Eczema isn’t a serious condition - just because eczema isn’t life-threatening doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Often people without eczema downplay it because they simply don’t know how disruptive eczema can be to one’s daily life. Furthermore, since it’s a chronic condition it’s not something that simply goes away.
MYTH #8: Eczema is more common in females than males - there is actually minimal statistical differences between eczema prevalence rates in males versus females. However, some studies suggest that women may experience symptoms to a greater degree than men.
MYTH #9: People with Eczema can’t go in swimming pools - there’s no rule that says people with eczema can’t go swimming. Taking precaution is recommended though: you should moisturize before going swimming since it could dry the skin. Salt water may irritate the skin for some and chlorine may cause more irritation for others. There is no risk of contaminating others sine eczema isn’t contagious but use caution if you have any open sores or wounds.
MYTH #10: Eczema is caused by allergies - although there is a connection between allergens and certain forms of eczema such as contact dermatitis, the majority of eczema types (atopic dermatitis) are not caused by allergies. That being said, allergies can trigger flare ups and make eczema symptoms worse.
MYTH #11: Over-the-counter products are too weak to treat eczema - some people are led to believe that prescription medication such as topical steroids are the only way to treat eczema. In reality, eczema sufferers must develop a 360-degree approach to treatment and topical steroids do not cure eczema. Since it’s a chronic condition, over-reliance on powerful drugs with potential side-effects may not be the most sustainable approach and could cause other complications. Consider using eczema creams.
MYTH #12: Eczema is caused by a bad diet - Bad diets can make your eczema worse but do not cause you to get eczema. People with eczema should be able to enjoy the same food as those without it but should work to define potential foods that could be making your eczema flare-ups worse.
MYTH #13: Children will grow out of their eczema - We wish this was the case but unfortunately you can not simply “grow” out of eczema. Those with eczema in childhood will eventually learn to manage their symptoms and triggers though, so that’s why there is a misconception that people grow out of it.
MYTH #14: Eczema is just excessively dry skin - those who do not understand eczema often think that it’s just a dry skin condition. They don’t realize that there are rash flare-ups, flaking, crusting, and other problems that arise from eczema. It’s another one of the ways that non-eczema sufferers downplay the condition.
MYTH #15: Eczema is a seasonal condition - this is absolutely false since eczema knows no bounds and is not affected by seasonality. However, cold winter weather often worsens dry skin and can therefore make eczema symptoms worse. Allergens in spring may also trigger eczema.
MYTH #16: Eczema is caused by stress - you can’t get eczema simply from stress although many eczema sufferers have helped to manage their symptoms by reducing stress.
MYTH #17: Eczema is caused from poor hygiene - it’s far too broad to think of poor hygiene as a cause or trigger of eczema. Rather, you need to systematically make lifestyle adjustments in order to identify potential triggers.
MYTH #18: Bathing too frequently will make eczema worse - it’s possible that heat can trigger eczema symptoms and bathwater can leave the skin dry, but with proper use of moisturizer and treatment creams, you should have no problem with a daily bath or shower.
MYTH #19: Psoriasis is the same thing as eczema - although they look similar and can be treated similarly, the mechanism of psoriasis is much different. Unlike eczema, psoriasis is related to the creation of too many new skin cells, too quickly.
MYTH #20: You can’t live a normal life with eczema - Yes you can. With proper skincare and lifestyle, eczema can be controlled to the point where it’s no longer a nuisance. It takes dedication and effort but you can take control over your eczema rather than it controlling you.