Dry patches of skin are the hallmark characteristic of eczema. It’s not surprising then that a lot of people who get those alligator-like scales reach for anti-inflammatory meds to get their skincare fix. However, the simple fact is that not all who have dry skin have dermatitis. There’s a whole lot of difference distinguishing the two. For you to get a good skincare fix, you need to know first what exactly it is you’re dealing with.

A Family Affair

One of the things that make dry skin and eczema distinct from each other is that the latter has hereditary influences. In other words, dermatitis runs in the family and is often linked to asthma and allergies. So you will notice dry, itchy skin flaring up when you’re exposed to mold, dust mites, pet dander, and other stuff you (and your mom or dad) is allergic to. Doctors believe that the body’s immune system reacts to an allergen or irritant, which then causes the breakout.

Dry skin, on the other hand, is often acquired, like for instance, if you’ve been out in the cold for too long or if you haven’t been drinking enough water. You can very well expect it when you haven’t used lotion or moisturizer for days. Now, you probably learned from your science lesson that dry skin also has some genetic predisposition, which is correct. This is why you should also note the second point.

More than the Dryness

Dry skin is just dry skin. Eczema, however, isn’t just about scaly patches. It usually appears with the itchy, red or brown rashes. You will notice it all over your body: on the neck, chest, hands, wrists, ankles, even the eyelids. If you have dry skin, you can find relief in ointment or lotion. If you have eczema, the dryness and irritation persist even after using ointment or lotion. In fact, these products can be the trigger themselves. Chemicals and fragrances are among the common culprits aggravating eczema symptoms. This doesn’t mean that you should skip the lotion or ointment. You need to use them to keep your skin hydrated, but it’s best to check what’s in the product first to rule out triggers.

Not only should you prioritize allergen-free products but also doctor-approved eczema and skin rash treatment. Provo-based physicians usually recommend corticosteroid cream. It contains hydrocortisone steroids, which provide instant relief from itching and inflammation. Depending on your symptoms, the doctor may suggest mild over-the-counter meds or stronger prescriptions. There are also barrier repair moisturizers. Applying these can help retain moisture in the skin, fix the damage, and relieve the dryness and itching.

Take note that some moisturizers come with fragrances. You want to avoid those to prevent further irritation. Of course, it’s equally important to be aware of your triggers. Since eczema is closely tied to asthma and allergies, you have to stay away from things you know would cause a flare-up. If you have a young child, they should be informed of potential triggers. Lastly, take note: Try not to scratch those patches. Like the fragrant lotion and ointment, this solution will only worsen the irritation.

The bottom line is that dry skin is a symptom of eczema. But not all who have dry skin have such a condition. To get relief and the best skincare fix, go visit your doctor.