What Does Eczema Look Like?

What does eczema look like, you may wonder. Let's take a closer look.

Just to reassure parents who have a child with eczema, as well as young adults and adolescents: if people ask questions about the condition, it is usually because they are curious.

If this leads to being teased or bullied, understand that this person is probably deep down afraid as they have never seen it before and lack information about the condition. Explain it and don't sit in silence.

Eczema is a common skin condition that has many forms. Atopic dermatitis and seborrheic eczema affect babies and young children more often.

Severity of Eczema

So, what does eczema look like?

  • Mild eczema – In its mildest form, eczema appears as a red rash or a patch of pink, dry skin. Whatever has triggered the breakout has inflamed the area. With mild eczema, the skin is still intact, feels dry, and not painful. This dryness leads to itching and scratching.
  • Moderate eczema – With moderate eczema, red rashes may appear on numerous areas of the body or just increase in overall size. Due to increased dryness and irritation, constant itching and scratching is common. Also, with the moderate form of eczema, the skin is raised, hot, and sore to touch.
  • Severe eczema – By the time severe eczema develops, the affected areas of skin are very dry and very painful. The skin may split, ooze fluid, or the top surface crusts over. Crusted skin, flakes, and/or blisters are a common sight with severe eczema.

For me I felt constant stinging on the creases at my elbows and backs of my knees. I had hot sore skinless patches around the waist and on my legs. My fingers had limited movement as they were covered in cracked and bleeding wounds. Lately I've had blisters on my hands.

Stages of Eczema

  • Acute stage – During the acute stage of eczema, the rash has just started. Characteristics of acute eczema include very itchy rash, blisters, red skin, and dry patches.
  • Subacute stage – This stage is a transition between the acute and chronic stages. With the subacute stage, the rash forms flakes, cracks, intense burning, stinging, and less itching.
  • Chronic stage – The chronic stage occurs when the rash has been present for a long time. This causes thickened skin, accentuated skin lines, intense itching, and large areas of skin breakdown (called excoriations).

Bacterial Infection

With atopic dermatitis, the skin can become infected from Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This causes severe redness, broken areas of skin, warm skin texture, and possibly a foul odor from the drainage. When scratching occurs, the fingernails introduce the bacteria into the broken skin regions, resulting in a skin infection. Infected atopic dermatitis looks angry and red and typically has a weepy, yellow crust.

Viral Infection

People with eczema often develop cold sores, caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This virus is highly contagious and appears as an open, red sore on the lips or face. A skin condition that can arise from HSV infection is eczema herpeticum, which is a serious viral infection. Eczema herpeticum produces small blisters that contain clear fluid or yellow pus.

Also, many children get molluscum contagiosum, which appears as smooth, small, pink or flesh-colored bumps. This develops on eczema prone skin areas, such as behind the knees or inside the elbow regions.

Fungal Infection

Candida is a yeast or fungal infection that often develops on eczema-prone skin. This yeast grows well in moist skin folds, such as the groin, under the breast, or around the buttocks of babies. Adults with seborrheic dermatitis often develop pityrosporum ovale, a fungal infection caused by the yeast pitrosporum. This yeast grows where there is a lot of sebum (body oil), such as the scalp, groin, and ear folds.

I hope you now have a better understanding of what does eczema look like.


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