How To Deal With Follicular Eczema, Symptoms And Treatments
Eczema comes in many forms, and one of them is the so-called, follicular eczema. Do you suspect having one? Read on and know more about this type of skin condition and the ways to prevent it.
Having eczema is not the worst thing to have really. Well, compared to other types of skin diseases, eczema is not life-threatening (unless untreated or you don’t care about it at all, which is impossible, by the way). In fact, when a person acquires it early on in life, it may disappear without you even knowing it.
We have known a couple of people suffering from eczema – different types. Some have the very common atopic dermatitis, some older ones have nummular dermatitis, and this very uncommon form, follicular eczema, which we will be highlighting later on.
One thing we find in common is – they treat eczema as a part of life. They have learned to deal with it every day of their lives by making sure flare-ups won’t appear. Well, it is probably safe to say that they’ve managed to master how to deal with eczema symptoms.
Having eczema, by the look of it, does entails a lot of responsibilities. Imagine the things you need to be fully aware of to ensure you there are no outbreaks. We couldn’t imagine how tough it may be, but sure, when you are used to it, it would be just like any ordinary thing you do.
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a skin condition that is itchy, dry (and in some cases, scaly), and causes patched of red rashes or blisters on the skin can be outgrown or can last as long as you live especially if you a person is diagnosed later on in life.
There are several types of eczema. To name a few, there is:
- Atopic Dermatitis – This is the most common type of eczema, and usually the most chronic on as well. It comes in persistent red patches that may be really itchy at almost all the time. Atopic dermatitis usually appears as early as infancy, but adults are nevertheless exempted as it also develops on older people.
Common symptoms of this type of eczema include scaly patches, redness, swollen skin, inflammation, and sometimes open wounds, oozing, or crusting because of scratching – which usually happens when it gets too itchy and you have nothing to apply on to remedy the itchiness. The areas of the skin that are typically affected are elbows, hands, knees, feet, eyelids, and even nipples.
While like any other eczema types, there really are no specific causes to pinpoint. However, dermatologists suspect that it may be caused by an overactive immune system a difference in one’s skin cells.
For this type of eczema, the treatment includes topical, oral, or injectable prescription. In some
cases, UVB light therapy would also be helpful.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
Seborrheic Dermatitis or dandruff is another common type of eczema. Surprised? Well, yes, it is a variation of dermatitis. Apart from the head, the greasy plaques and flakes may also come out on the eyebrows, nose, chest, or back.
Although the main cause is also unknown, medical experts suspect that this condition arises when yeast that usually appears in the skin overgrows in gland-produced oils, which causes a person’s immune system to respond.
With regards to treatments, most likely, the doctor may recommend an anti-yeast shampoo that may be available over-the-counter or via a prescription.
- Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis or commonly referred to as itchy redness comes in two different forms. One is irritant and the other is allergic. On one hand, irritant dermatitis is obviously caused by environmental or chemical irritants. Redness usually appears on the outmost layer of the skin. Allergic dermatitis, on the other hand, is caused by allergens that may be present on the food that you eat, animals, dust, etc. The rash may be manifested as the body’s immune system response to the allergens.
Treatments will depend on the cause and the severity of the symptoms, which will be determined by your dermatologist. However, doctors commonly prescribe oral or topical steroids.
- Stasis Dermatitis
Also referred to as a rash on swollen areas (because obviously, there is a rash on the swollen area), stasis dermatitis is common among the elderly. The symptoms particularly occur on the lower legs of the person with this type of skin condition.
Stasis dermatitis happens as your circulation diminishes with time, which leads to fluid build-up. What happens then is that the immune system tries to correct the swelling. However, an over-response may lead to a crusty rash on top of the inflamed areas.
Stasis dermatitis treatments may include prescription creams. Some may also suggest elevating legs more frequently, as well as wearing compression socks may help reduce the tendency or poor circulation.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema
Dyshidrotic eczema comes in red bumps on the hands and feet. This type of eczema is the less common type. It’s a rare kind of eczema, to say the least. Flare-ups usually happen during the winter season. Like any other types of eczema, you may develop red patches, as well as a pimple or blister-like bumps, particularly on your fingers and toes.
Treatments include daily moisturizing and if it is a severe one, your doctor may prescribe the use of a special topical cream.
- Nummular Eczema
Nummular eczema is quite definite when it comes to how it looks. It is easy to tell because its symptoms include circular or coin-shaped (which by the ways is what nummular means) patches on the skin. Like dyshidrotic eczema, it also commonly appears during winter. Nummular eczema can affect anyone, but generally, it affects older people more.
Treatments may also include a topical cream.
So, there you go. These are just some of the many types of eczema or dermatitis.
Alright, you probably are wondering, where is follicular eczema in there? Well, it actually should be under the first type of eczema – atopic dermatitis.
Now, to cut off the waiting, we are finally heading off to the real deal.
Let’s proceed to talk about what follicular eczema is all about.
Let’s begin with…
What is Follicular Eczema?
As mentioned above, follicular eczema is a form of one of the most common types of dermatitis or eczema – atopic dermatitis. This, however, specifically affects the hair follicle, which is pretty obvious by just the name of it. In particular, small, rough, red bumps around the hair follicles appear. Depending on the severity of the case, there may be bumps that are inflamed, itchy and bleed. Follicular eczema is not a serious condition though and is fairly uncommon.
As you know, atopic dermatitis happens when the skin’s outer layer is incapable to protect you from different external threats like bacteria, allergens, and other various forms of irritants.
We’ve said this before, but we are saying this again – like the rest of the other types of eczema, follicular eczema has no definite cause. However, according to the National Eczema Association, a person is more likely or more at risk if he or she has a family history of hay fever, asthma or eczema in the family.
What are the common signs of follicular eczema?
It may be quite funny, but since it appears in hair follicles, follicular eczema reactions may look like goosebumps that seem like never wanting to go away. Can you imagine that?
Even more, the hair in the affected areas may stand on end and then, there may be an appearance of redness, itchiness, swelling or warmth, which may actually be inflammation.
It may or may not include other generic symptoms of atopic dermatitis-like cracked, scaly skin; crusty or weepy sores, as well as rashes.
How to diagnose follicular eczema?
Like any other skin conditions or diseases, the doctor, preferably a dermatologist starts assessing your condition by asking questions like:
– How do you feel?
– What have you noticed?
– Since when did the symptoms appear?
– Does anyone in your family have or has had this condition? etc.
The last question is very common especially since in most cases, eczema is inherited. Meaning, if someone has had it in your family, the more you are likely to develop this skin condition too. The doctor may also check your symptoms for better assessment.
Once done with his or her initial assessment, the doctor may request you to undergo certain skin and blood tests to be able to come up with a more thorough diagnosis.
If the symptoms are too much for you to handle, while waiting for the results of your tests, your doctor may prescribe certain medications for the meantime. It will be based on his or her initial assessment or diagnosis – based on your answers to his or her questions, and the symptoms you have.
What causes follicular eczema?
As you already know by now, eczema is a type of skin condition or medical condition, in general, that has no definite cause. As of this day, medical experts have not pin-pointed the very cause why eczema appears on the skin.
However, there are some common irritants that are seen to cause eczema flare-ups. Some of the most common irritants for people with atopic or follicular eczema are:
– Weather or hot temperature. Probably, the common denominator of all types of eczema. It is safe to say, that this is the main culprit of people with eczema. Hot temperatures caused by either weather or certain activities like exercising cause eczema flare-ups.
– Sweating. In relation to weather, sweating also causes eczema flare-ups. Thus, make sure to always keep your skin dry (but no, not the kind of dryness that causes eczema, okay?).
– Chemicals present in everyday products like soap, shampoo, body wash, laundry detergent, cologne or perfume, household cleaners, etc. Thus, always make it a habit to check the labels of the product you are using especially the ones directly applied on the skin.
– Environmental bacteria. One example is certain kinds of fungus.
– Certain kinds of fabrics. Yes, there are kinds of fabrics that are not healthy for someone who has eczema. Some examples are wool and polyester. Doctors normally recommend wearing clothes that are made of cotton.
– Allergens. There are several types of allergens. Some examples are pollen (the most common one), dust, mold, pet dander, certain kinds of food, as well as animals like cats and dogs.
– Stress. Yes, stress also triggers follicular eczema or eczema in general. Thus, as much as possible, avoid stressors. Keep yourself away from stressful situations. You may also try meditations when you are feeling worried, scared, or anxious.
– Poor diet. Unfortunately, not keeping a healthy diet may also cause follicular eczema. Thus, while you may be avoiding certain types of food particularly the ones with high allergen content, do not forget to still keep a healthy diet.
– Asthma. If you have asthma, you are also likely to develop follicular eczema.
Again, there are a few more irritants to add on this list but these are the most common ones and are proven triggers of eczema flare-ups.
How to manage/treat follicular eczema?
Generally speaking, eczema has no cure – at least not yet. However, there are proven effective ways to manage or treat eczema symptoms.
Some common ways to keep the symptoms away are:
– Frequently applying moisturizer
– Keeping the skin hydrated
– Using air humidifiers at home
– Wearing comfortable, loose clothing made of cotton
– Staying away from litigants or allergens
– Taking lukewarm bath
– Using skin cleansers that are gentle on the skin
In the case of active follicular eczema flare-ups, there are various treatments available too like the following:
- Putting on a clean, warm, washcloth on the affected area to keep it hydrated.
- Soaking the affected area of the skin in warm (definitely not hot) water.
- Avoid scratching the affected area. Scratching it off may lead to further skin damage. While it may really be tempting because of the itch, you got to hang in there or else, it might worsen the symptom.
- Frequent application of a good moisturizer particularly right after removing the cloth or after taking a bath while the skin is still damp – that’s the key for more effective and better skin miniaturization. Make sure to choose fragrance-free moisturizers as scented ones may cause irritation or further damage to the affected areas.
- Wearing loose-fitting clothes instead of the tight ones. Yes they may not be that fashionable for some, but seriously, you wouldn’t even care, right? Unless you can bear the itch and all that or are willing to face the consequences, then so be it.
- If the above-mentioned methods won’t be as effective, you may always rely on doctor prescribed corticosteroids creams, ointments or other medications.
Here’s another basic (but definitely something that makes a difference) way to manage symptoms of follicular eczema include:
Believe it or not, taking a bath is one of the best ways to help avoid or manage symptoms related to follicular eczema. Take into account the following very important reminders when taking a bath (yes, because your skin is special, there are certain things that you have to keep in mind):
– Keep it warm. Avoid using extreme hot or extremely cold temperatures. Either way, they are not good for your skin. In fact, it might worsen the situation of your skin. Right after taking a bath, pat your skin gently (please, do not ever rub your skin), and then immediately apply doctor-recommended moisturizer on your skin.
– Keep it limited. For some people, taking a bath is a favorite. While it is tempting to stay in the shower or tub especially when your skin is itchy, unfortunately, people with eczema can only be in the shower or tub for a limited time only. For someone with follicular eczema or any type of eczema, you may only take a shower once a day for 5 to 10 minutes. Why? Because the longer you stay in the shower or tub, the more your skin is prone to skin dryness.
– Consider adding a small amount of beach. Yes, you read it right. You may add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of household bleach (not concentrated) to the tub. The amount depends on the size of the tub and the amount of water you put into it.
To wrap it all up, while atopic dermatitis is a very common type of eczema, follicular eczema is otherwise. It is an uncommon form of atopic dermatitis. Meaning, only a few people have it. Normally, follicular eczema appears on people who have it in the family. In some cases, however, it is caused by existing conditions or may be caused by certain triggers or irritants.
While follicular eczema may be very uncommon, fortunately, there are ways to manage as well as treat this skin condition (which we have already enumerated earlier).
For some people, it may be tempting to rebel having this life-long skin condition. However, take it from the experts – we mean, the ones who have it already – if you know how to obey and be diligent in doing what you are supposed to do and to stay away from what you are supposed to stay away from, then you are good to go. Meaning, you can still live as normal people do – just with certain limitations though.