Most of us will experience dry skin at some point in our lives. With it being a common complaint over the winter periods. Dry skin is usually red, itchy, and flaky but can also be sore and irritating. This can vary in severity and you may get to the point where you start to wonder ‘is my dry skin eczema?’
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. Furthermore, according to the National Eczema Association ‘one in five children and one in twelve adults have eczema while eczema and contact dermatitis account for 84-90% of occupational skin disease’. It is a long-term skin condition which can come and go. Moreover, it causes skin to become dry and red, often in small patches but sometimes all over the body. In this guide we look at the differences between dry skin and eczema. This is to help you understand whether your skin needs hydration or whether you need to seek professional medical advice.
IS DRY SKIN EZCEMA? THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DRY SKIN AND EZCEMA
– Extreme itchiness
Dry skin can be itchy. But for those with eczema this can be severe, to the point of affecting daily life. Skin won’t appear to be just flaky but is usually red with the appearance of a rash. And this can be extremely sore and uncomfortable. This can become even worse at night. In addition, according to a 2017 article published in the Dermatology and Therapy journal, 33-87% of adults with atopic dermatitis have sleep disruption, caused by itchiness. This can be caused by a change in body temperature or the effects of a moisturiser having now worn off. Try to moisturise the skin at least twice a day, making sure it’s a part of your evening skincare routine. Those with eczema should try a fragrance-free oil-based lotion as fragrance can irritate the skin further. Should sleep disruption and extreme itchiness persist, you should always see your GP.
For those with dry skin, mild itching can be soothed with a good quality, water-based moisturiser. Malée’s Conditioning Body Cream is a rich and non-greasy lotion which can be used on the skin to nourish and lock in moisture. Using twice a day and immediately after every shower or bath. Our moisturiser works by penetrating the skin. Restoring water to the layers where it has been lost. Furthermore, it creates a seal on the outer layer to help prevent further moisture from escaping. Made from 100% natural ingredients which are high in vitamins and essential oils. Regular use will soothe dry, tight skin and leave it feeling smooth and looking healthier.
– Allergies and genetics
Atopic dermatitis is often present in people who are sensitive to allergens. Otherwise, they have a family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever. The link between eczema and other long-term conditions is strong. And in a 2009 study published in the PLOS Biology journal showed that a protein called thymic stromal lymphopoietin is often created in damaged skin. Moreover, it increases the risk of patients with eczema going on to develop asthmatic symptoms.
Similarly, eczema can also be hereditary. Though not always the case, eczema can be caused by gene mutations. And, according to the National Library of Medicine, ‘having a parent with atopic dermatitis, asthma, or hay fever raises the chances a person will develop atopic dermatitis’. If your skin becomes persistently dry, red, and sore and you or an immediate family member also suffers with asthma or hay fever. You should seek advice from a medical professional to determine whether you have eczema and develop a treatment strategy.
– Persisting symptoms
For those with atopic dermatitis, the skin will be particularly sensitive to certain triggers. Even when it feels as though the condition is under control, taking a hot bath or using a washing-up liquid which contains harsh chemicals can make the skin flare up again. For those with dry skin, these actions may lead to the skin feeling tight. But for those with eczema, the results can be quite serious due to the fragility of the skin’s protective barrier.
For most people, dry skin can be prevented with a good skincare routine. Regularly cleansing, exfoliating, and hydrating the skin will help it to remain healthy. Promoting regular cell turnover and locking in moisture, allowing the skin’s protective barrier to work at its best. In the winter, this can worsen, and eczema sufferers may find more regular flare-ups. Whilst those with a dry skin type may find patches more often. For those with dry hands, Malée’s Nourishing Hand Cream can be a great solution. Penetrating the outer layers of the skin and restoring moisture, which in turn can create a cycle of regular cell renewal and improve the skin’s health. Made from 100% natural ingredients. This rich cream also contains essential oils and nutrients. It works to soothe and protect the skin whilst giving you a healthy glow. If your symptoms persist or worsen or you spot anything which worries you, you should always see a GP.
One of the symptoms of eczema is dry skin which can make it difficult to separate the chronic condition from the common skin complaint. The main difference is severity; those with eczema will find it more itchy, irritating, and sore than regular dry skin and this can go on to effect sleep and daily life. Those with eczema often have a family history of the condition or other allergen-based conditions and the symptoms tend to come and go, not really improving with the use of moisturisers. If you’ve tried following a daily skincare routine to smooth and rehydrate dry skin and you are still worried, you should always seek professional medical advice to determine whether your dry skin is eczema.
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