Myth: Eczema is just like acne.
Fact: No. Eczema is not like acne – they are completely different conditions. However, it is true that some medications may cause acne and complicate eczema. Talk to your doctor, there are different medications that may help.
Myth: Eczema is caused by an emotional disorder.
Fact: Although at one time doctors did believe that eczema was caused by an emotional disorder, we now know that emotional factors, like stress, can make eczema worse. There are techniques that can help you manage the stress, anxiety, anger, or frustration that can lead to increased instances of eczema ‘flare ups’.
Myth: You can ‘catch’ eczema from someone who has the disease.
Fact: Eczema is absolutely not contagious. This means that you can’t ‘catch’ the disease from another person and you can’t give it to someone by touching him or her.
Myth: You can’t go swimming if you have eczema.
Fact: Most people with eczema can go swimming. However, some people who have severe eczema find that the chemicals used in swimming pools or the salt in sea water makes their eczema worse, so they choose not to go in. Make sure that before and after you go swimming, you rinse your skin and put on a moisturizer.
Myth: People who have eczema do not wash properly.
Fact: Of course this is not true. Having eczema has nothing to do with personal hygiene; the disease is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental, genetic and immune system factors. In reality, many eczema sufferers bathe much more frequently than non-eczema sufferers to help hydrate the skin!
Myth: Eczema will leave permanent scars.
Fact: Generally, no. Although your eczema can be very uncomfortable and unpleasant, it is very unusual for it to leave any permanent marks on your skin. However, some conventional treatments can cause skin discolouration, striae (white, shiny stretch marks), and skin thinning. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about any unusual side effects from your current treatment.
Myth: Eczema can be cured with steroids.
Fact: Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema. Although steroids have been used for a long time to treat eczema, they are not a cure and they do have limitations for treatment.
Myth: A lot of moisturizer can eliminate the need for topical corticosteroids.
Fact: Proper bathing and moisturizing is essential in managing chronic eczema. Although moisturizers are a first-line treatment, when used alone they will only control the very mildest forms of eczema. Moderate or severe eczema cannot be treated effectively with moisturizers alone. Once the skin becomes red (inflamed), additional anti-inflammatory medication is needed to control the disease.
Myth: Topical corticosteroids cause stunted growth and development.
Fact: Corticosteroid creams and ointments should not be confused with anabolic steroids infamously used by some athletes. But, babies and very young children are at risk of absorbing topically applied corticosteroids into the bloodstream, especially when these medications are very potent, applied in large quantities too frequently, or used inappropriately under a diaper or other covered (occluded) area. As such there may be a risk of slowing growth (height). Corticosteroids taken by mouth or used for prolonged periods of time are absorbed into the bloodstream. These can reduce the body’s production of natural corticosteroids, weaken immune responses and affect growth, but do not affect brain development. Topically applied corticosteroids used in the appropriate quantity and for the appropriate duration are unlikely to affect growth or the body’s ability to fight infections.