Eczema Myths and Facts: Beyond Dry Skin
Education and Advocacy Eczema — or atopic dermatitis — can cause dry, itchy, rash-covered skin that can bleed and ooze. Read some of the biggest misconceptions about eczema.
Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, can leave Canadians with dry, itchy, rash-covered skin that can bleed and ooze. One common atopic dermatitis myth is that sufferers don’t experience symptoms during the summer months.
Executive Director of the Eczema Society of Canada, Amanda Cresswell-Melville, dispels this common myth. “There are many myths surrounding this condition. One common myth is that sufferers don’t experience flares in the summer months, and that is simply not true.” While cold temperatures and forced air heating in the winter can contribute to flares, patients with a more severe form of the condition can have symptoms all year round. Hot summer days, and working up a sweat, can also cause flare-ups of the condition.
“One common myth is that [eczema] sufferers don’t experience flares in the summer months, and that is simply not true.”
– Amanda Cresswell-Melville, Eczema Society of Canada
Another misconception is that atopic dermatitis is contagious. “While the visual rash of eczema appears red and scaly, and you may see sufferers scratching their skin, eczema is not contagious. You cannot ‘catch’ eczema from someone else,” says Cresswell-Melville. Insatiable itch is a hallmark symptom of atopic dermatitis and is often cited as the most bothersome symptom of the condition. While atopic dermatitis is not contagious, it is a hereditary condition, and is part of the atopic triad, along with asthma and allergic rhinitis.
The belief that atopic dermatitis can be managed with moisturizers alone is another misunderstanding of the disease. The good news is that atopic dermatitis can be managed with the right care regimen, and your doctor can help. “While eczema is chronic, there can be control of the condition. Moisturizing the skin, multiple times a day, is extremely important, however sometimes medical treatments are required to manage the inflammation associated with flares.”