Eczema - women


Eczema has many types, but everyone with the condition can understand the itching and the redness it causes. We get it too. It’s estimated that around 15 million of us in the UK1 suffer from eczema, so while you’re not alone, it’s not always easy. Let's take a look at the causes, what you can do and answer some FAQs.

What is eczema?
Schema with eczema

What is eczema

Eczema is the name given to a group of skin conditions that causes itchiness, dryness, inflammation, redness, or a rash-like appearance2. It’s most common in children, but can appear in adults also.

What does eczema look like ? 

There are different types of the condition, and symptoms vary person to person. What most people can relate to is the itching. It can look like:

  • Scaly, leathery patches
  • Dry areas
  • Small, rough bumps
  • Affected areas can be red (light skin) or darker brown, purple, or ash gray (brown skin)
  • Bumps that ooze and crust over
  • Warmth
  • Possibly some swelling
  • Affected areas can look darker or lighter than the rest of your skin when healed3
Schema of people

The 7 types of eczema

Not all of us experience the condition in the same way, there are different types; eczema is the umbrella term. Each has their own symptoms and causes.

  1. 1. Atopic Dermatitis

    Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema, usually starting in childhood and becoming more mild in adulthood. Many sufferers also have hay fever and/or asthma.

    It can appear anywhere on the body, some people have widespread patches all over the skin while others have smaller patches2.


    Typical symptoms include itchiness, dryness, cracked or sore skin. Usually, there are periods where symptoms improve, and flare-ups occur 2-3 times a month3. The most common places for it to appear include hands, inside of the elbows, backs of knees, scalp and face.


    There’s no one cause for everyone with eczema and it’s usually a combination of things. This includes:

    • Dry skin (skin unable to retain moisture) that’s more likely to react to certain triggers
    • Genetics (if your parents have it, you may have a greater risk of developing it)4
    • Immune system
  2. 2. Contact dermatitis

    Does your skin get red or irritated as a reaction to substances you touch? You may have contact dermatitis, which occurs when your skin is exposed to something it’s allergic to5.


    Common symptoms include:

    • Blistered, oozing areas
    • Sun sensitivity
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Redness
    • Dry, scaly patches
    • Burning sensation


    Here, the trigger is usually touch. There are many substances that can cause an allergic reaction, from antibiotics to suncream, or rubber products such as latex. It can also be things like jewelry, soap or perfumes.

  3. 3. Hand eczema

    One type of eczema only affects the hands, known as hand eczema. Those who regularly use chemicals on their skin, such as hairdressers, can be particularly susceptible6.


    Hands get itchy, red and dry, or even form cracks and blisters in some cases.


    It can often be triggered by an exposure to chemicals and irritants, including cleaners or healthcare providers.

  4. 4. Dyshidrotic eczema

    Also known as dyshidrosis, dyshidrotic eczema causes blisters to develop on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet2.


    These blisters are usually itchy and filled with fluid, and can last up to 4 weeks.


    Exact causes are unknown, but seasonal allergies such as hay fever can trigger it. Stress can also lead to flare ups.

  5. 5. Neurodermatitis

    Similar to atopic dermatitis, this type causes thick, scaly patches to appear on the skin.


    Typical symptoms include:

    • Thick, scaly patches on the body (e.g. arms, legs, back of the neck)
    • Itchiness, which can interrupt sleep
    • Bleeding caused by scratching


    Those with other skin conditions, such as psoriasis, often get neurodermatitis. There isn’t one known cause, although stress can be a trigger.

  6. 6. Stasis dermatitis

    Stasis dermatitis is where fluid leaks out of weakened veins into the skin, causing swelling, redness and itching. It can be painful in some cases too.


    • Aching and heavy legs
    • Swelling in the lower legs
    • Dry and itchy skin over varicose veins
    • Open sores


    Stasis dermatitis usually occurs in people who have blood flow problems in their legs, causing swelling and varicose veins to form.

  7. 7. Discoid eczema

    Nummular eczema causes itchy, coin-shaped spots to develop on the skin, also known as discoid eczema2 or nummular dermatitis7.


    The most common symptoms are patches of coin-shaped lesions on the body, usually starting on the arms and legs. They’re often itchy, and may ooze fluid or become dry and crusty.


    Again, there’s no one cause, although a family history of the condition can make you more susceptible. Other factors can bring on the development also, such as temperature changes, stress and dry skin.

Eczema dermalex products

Causes & treatment

  1. Is Eczema contagious?

    Eczema is not contagious; you can’t pass the condition to someone else, even if you have an active rash8.

  2. What causes Eczema?

    Part of what makes eczema tricky is that there’s no one cause, and different types have different symptoms. What causes it in someone else might not apply to you.

    However, some common triggers include:

    • Dry skin
    • Irritants:
    • Cigarette smoke
    • Fragrances
    • Certain materials e.g. wool
    • Soaps
    • Household cleaners
    • Metals
    • Stress4

    Sometimes, it can also be caused by certain foods, such as dairy products.

  3. How to get rid of eczema

    Wondering how to cure eczema permanently? We have good news and bad news. The bad news is there’s currently no cure, however, the good news is there are plenty of treatments for the condition and ways to prevent flare ups. Eczema isn’t always a lifelong condition, it can go away over time2.

    It’s completely normal to want to get rid of the condition forever, as it can be challenging and difficult to live with. It’s not just the physical effects like itching and redness, but also psychological ones, as it causes many people to feel self-conscious and embarrassed.

    If that sounds like you, we know how you feel, and you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at what you can do.

  4. How to alleviate symptoms at home

    Sometimes, lifestyle changes or altering your habits is a good idea. Some things to try include:

    • Moisturising daily
    • Having lukewarm baths
    • Applying moisturiser within 3 minutes of getting out of the bath to lock in moisture, applying liberally9
    • Avoiding rough or scratchy fabrics
    • Keeping fingernails short to prevent breaking the skin when scratching
    • Wearing cotton and soft fabrics
    • Using mild soaps
    • Air drying or patting dry rather than rubbing with a towel
  5. How to treat eczema

    Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and doctors often use clinical tools to assess the severity and extent of eczema.


    Mild to moderate eczema is usually treated by moisturising the skin with emollients, which cover the skin with a protective film that traps in moisture.

    These moisturisers are steroid free and are available as creams, ointments and lotions. They can be applied generously & regularly in between flare ups to keep the skin moist and soft and prevent it from cracking. There are also emollient substitutes for soap, bath oil and shower gel (products that dry out the skin and can be irritating for people with eczema).

    Emollients work on the surface of the skin and don’t tackle the inflammation.

    Topical steroids

    When the flare-ups become inflamed, sore and very itchy, products containing topical steroids are often prescribed. Topical means that the product is applied to the skin. Steroids are hormones, effective in reducing the inflammation with various potencies, but they don’t hydrate the skin or maintain the skin’s protective barrier. For instance, hydrocortisone is considered a mild steroid, while Clobetasol is very potent.

    Over-the-counter topical steroids should generally be used in the short-term to control flare-ups. Your doctor will provide the best advice when it comes to how long you should use them.


    Dermalex Eczema Treatment and Dermalex Hand Irritation Cream are clinically proven to treat mild to moderate Atopic Eczema symptoms while moisturising the dry skin. This unique dual action makes Dermalex Eczema cream effective in the treatment of eczema10. It stimulates the skin’s own repair mechanism, prevents further moisture loss and protects from irritants and allergens. It can be used long-term.

  6. How to prevent eczema

    There are also ways to prevent flare ups and make them less likely to occur at all. This includes:

    Avoiding allergens

    Consider having yourself tested for the specific substances that trigger your allergic reactions and contribute to your eczema.

    Maintaining good personal health

    Maintaining good personal health and hygiene is especially important if you’re prone to eczema. Keep your skin clean by showering regularly and use emollient cleansers, gels and specialised shampoos.

    Eczema can also be triggered by temperature changes and sweating4, so try keeping cool or taking a lukewarm shower after exercising. Avoid sweaty fabrics also.

    Change lifestyle habits

    Some top tips include:

    1. Managing stress and taking time to relax
    2. Quit smoking and avoid smoky environments
    3. Pay attention to what foods trigger symptoms and avoid them

    Look after your skin

    Moisturise often and avoid scratchy fabrics like wool. You should also avoid sudden temperature and humidity changes too; using a dehumidifier in your room at night can help. Keep it fresh and cool as much as possible.

    Take care to use milder soaps rather than heavily perfumed or harsh ones.

How can Dermalex help

The Dermalex range of creams has been specially formulated to moisturise and protect your skin, keeping your natural barrier strong and healthy. Each product in the range has been developed with a thorough understanding of the factors that lead to common skin conditions and clinically-proven to treat and relieve the symptoms that make problem skin so uncomfortable.

That’s why they’re non-greasy, contain no artificial colourings, parabens or perfumes. You don’t have to suffer in silence – we’ve got a solution that’s scientifically proven to relieve the symptoms of flare ups. Start taking care of your skin today.

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