An introduction to the symptoms of eczema
The symptoms of eczema are normally quite pronounced and difficult to ignore, although often they are misdiagnosed due to their similarities to other skin conditions.
In some variants of eczema, distinctive patterns can form such as in discoid eczema, but there are a few general symptoms that appear in all forms of the condition.
Blisters appear in most forms of eczema and can be uncomfortable, painful and sometimes itchy.
They normally manifest in the folds of your skin and are small, fluid filled pustules that often leak pus and occasionally blood.
Any blisters that occur during an outburst of eczema should not be popped or scratched as this might infect or damage the skin even further.
Inflammation occurs due to an autoimmune reaction to an injury or pathogens.
The body releases inflammatory chemicals to kill germs, parasites and allergens, or sometimes to encourage a wound to heal properly.
These chemicals can cause swelling though, and too much histamine can sometimes exacerbate symptoms like inflammation and itchiness.
Itchiness is perhaps the most common symptom associated with eczema and usually appears as a result of dry, flaking skin. It can pose a problem though, as sufferers feel compelled to scratch their skin, perpetuating the shedding of skin cells and damaging the epidermis even more, putting them at risk of developing a secondary bacterial infection.
Discolouration can occur during eczema when the melanocytes that produce the dark skin pigment, melanin, are damaged. This can cause your skin to appear discoloured in some areas and can take time for it to return to its usual pallor. Erythema, or a rash also normally appears during this time as histamine can cause the blood vessels to dilate, making the skin appear red and irritated.
During eczema, your skin can become dehydrated and the production of essential oils like sebum can become inhibited, making your skin dry, cracked and itchy. This compulsion to scratch your skin then damages the epidermis and makes it easier for irritants and allergens to penetrate your immune system.
Suffering from eczema can be a daunting and disheartening experience, as your physical symptoms can be highly visible and difficult to conceal, making you feel self-conscious in public.
They can also be extremely persistent, with itchiness and inflammation being very uncomfortable and difficult to tolerate on daily basis.
The stress that inevitably feel can place your immune system under a considerable amount of strain, only leading into a vicious cycle where our psychological and physical symptoms continue to feed one another.
When you experience uncomfortable and irritating symptoms, it can disrupt your sleep pattern and leave you feeling tired and withdrawn the next day.
This can continue to then have an impact on tour emotions, making you feel anxious and irritated, and further encouraging a cycle of stress and sleeplessness.