Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis, can lead to symptoms like scales, cracks, discoloration, crusting, or pustules on your skin — or even skin infections in some cases. Although the condition is not contagious, other people still might make assumptions if they see eczema symptoms on your skin.
It can be hard to share information about eczema with other people, particularly when you prefer that no one looks at your skin. But talking about the condition can be beneficial, not only for giving you some peace of mind, but also in helping others understand it.
“Does anyone else get asked what’s wrong with your skin by strangers, or is it just me?” one MyEczemaTeam member wrote. “Unfortunately, mine is all over my face, so there’s no hiding it. It just frustrates me that strangers have the nerve to ask about my body and what’s going on with it.”
Another member wrote, “I know people mean well, but it is super embarrassing when people say, ‘Oh my gosh, what happened to your skin?’ Then you have to explain — then most people try to suggest how to fix it.”
Remember that you are not obligated to talk about eczema with other people. It’s completely your choice to discuss the condition or not, depending on your comfort level. If you do choose to spark a conversation about eczema, consider the following tips that MyEczemaTeam members have shared.
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If other people are curious about your eczema, you can let them know that you have an inflammatory condition that causes your sensitive and dry skin to develop rashes. These can be itchy or inflamed, but they are not contagious. Explain that eczema is actually somewhat common, affecting more than 31 million Americans.
You can let others know that eczema is not contagious, and it is not caused by bacteria or fungus. Other people cannot catch it by touching you, even if you are in a flare state with visible symptoms. (However, be aware that atopic dermatitis can sometimes become secondarily infected and this bacterial infection can be contagious.)
In some cases, it can be helpful to share what (if anything) causes your eczema to flare, so other people can avoid introducing those triggers. For some people, irritants like fragrances, dyes, soap, or detergents can prompt an eczema flare. Other people may react to allergens, environmental factors, hormonal changes, or skin infections.
Let people know that eczema is not caused by a lack of hygiene, and it cannot simply be cured with aloe, coconut oil, or positivity. Let them know the rash results from an overactivation of the immune system.
If you try to “power through” a tough day by putting on a brave face, you could minimize your condition in the eyes of others. Let your loved ones know if you’re having a bad day.
MyEczemaTeam is the social network and online support group for people living with various types of eczema. Here, more than 39,000 members from around the world come together to ask questions, offer support and advice, and meet others who understand life with eczema.