From Black Voices — Imagine waking up in the middle of the night just to scratch that insanely itchy rash on your leg. What about making your bed and finding flakes of dry skin all over your brand new 1000-thread-count sheets? For 10-20% of the population, this is life.
These are the stresses of someone with severe eczema and yes, it can be just as gross as it sounds. Eczema, clinically termed atopic dermatitis is by no means life threatening but it can be extremely annoying. We talked to dermatologist Dr. Fran E. Cook-Bolden, who specializes in working with skin of color, to learn a little more about this affliction and get suggestions on how to make it easier to live with.
The most important thing to know about issues of this sort is exactly what causes it. Says Dr. Cook-Bolden, “Most eczema is hereditary. It is often linked to allergies, including hay fever.” A particular subset of people are more prone to eczema: asthmatics. “These persons are considered ‘atopic,’ which means they are far more susceptible to even minor irritation (i.e. chemicals, detergents, foods, nickel, etc.) and stress-related skin disorders. Some researchers think stress may trigger eczema, but they haven’t yet been able to make the direct scientific link,” she continues.
While this surely doesn’t sound like the best news ever, with advice from Dr. Cook-Bolden and our own fact-finding mission, we’ve found some solutions to help ease the discomfort of this pesky disorder.