Your skin has become dry, itchy, and has started to drive you crazy. But you can’t figure out whether you’re suffering from simple dry skin or eczema.
So, where do you start? Before you begin self-medicating with hydrocortisone tablets UK, you should learn the differences between these two conditions.
Eczema: What Is It?
It refers to an inflammatory skin condition that causes you to experience red, dry, and itchy skin. The condition is sometimes referred to as dermatitis.
If left uncontrolled, eczema can result in severe symptoms such as crusting and bleeding in the hands, wrists, back of the knees, and over the fold of your arms.
How can you know whether you have dermatitis?
Types and Symptoms of Eczema
According to the National Eczema Association, there exist 7 different types of eczema. They include:
I. Atopic Dermatitis
It’s the most prevalent form of eczema and can last throughout a person’s life. Atopic dermatitis occurs due to gene mutation leading to filaggrin.
Filaggrin refers to a protein that occurs naturally in the body, which creates a protective layer over the normal skin layer.
Its symptoms include:
• Presence of small, leaking bumps
• Discolouration in the affected area
• Presence of a rash in the knee and elbow creases
II. Contact Dermatitis
It occurs when your skin comes into contact with a foreign substance or an allergen that triggers a skin reaction. It has two variations: allergic and irritant dermatitis.
The symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
• Sensitivity to the sun
• Dry patches on the skin
• Itching or burning
It forms on one or two skin patches and may cause you to scratch a given area continuously. Continued scratching can irritate nerve endings worsening the condition.
• Itchy patches
• Bleeding patches
IV. Dyshidrotic Eczema
It’s characterized by the appearance of itchy blisters on your hands and feet. The condition mainly affects women. Medical professionals believe it may contain a genetic component.
• Blisters on palms, toes, and fingers
• The blisters may become itchy and painful
V. Nummular Eczema
It’s a different type of eczema that appears due to skin trauma. The trauma could be a result of insect bites or normal burns.
The main symptoms include the appearance of coin-shaped skin patches. Others include discoloration and itchy bumps.
VI. Seborrheic Dermatitis
It appears on your skin in the form of dandruff. In some cases, it may also appear as yellow scaly skin on areas such as the ears and face.
• Red, itchy skin
• The presence of greasy skin patches covered with scales
VII. Stasis Dermatitis
It’s also known as gravitation dermatitis and occurs when you develop weak circulation in your lower legs. The veins begin leaking fluids when they cannot push blood to your heart.
• Open sores on the feet
• Thick and damaged varicose veins
• Swelling in the lower legs
Dry Skin vs Eczema
Although it’s possible to mistake dry skin for any of the different types of eczema mentioned above, the two conditions do have some noticeable differences.
For example, dry skin accompanied by itchiness after exposure to common triggers means you have dry skin. Common factors that can lead to dry skin include:
• Failure to use moisturizers
• Exposure to cold, windy weather
On the other hand, if you notice that your skin has become too dry for no reason, it may mean you have developed eczema. Consider visiting your primary health care physician.