Do I have eczema? Common symptoms to look out for

  • Take our quiz to help find out if you have eczema!
  • Eczema often goes hand-in-hand with asthma and allergies, known as the Atopic 3.
  • The biggest eczema giveaway? Skin itchiness...
  • Cracks and flakes are symptoms of a damaged hydrolipidic barrier
Do I have eczema? Common symptoms to look out for

Do you suffer from eczema (otherwise known as atopic dermatitis) or simply dry skin? Here we've put together a skincare quiz to help you define your skin type and concerns, as well as our recommendations on how to soothe and treat your skin. The results aren't set in stone, and sometimes the answers might not fit your exact skin profile (everyone is different!), so if you're unclear or still have questions about eczema, it's time to see your dermatologist for a professional diagnosis.

Quiz

Do you or your parents suffer from allergies like hay fever and/or asthma?
YES
NO

Do you have isolated patches of red, flaky skin?
YES
NO

Does the skin itch?
YES
NO

Do you experience flare-ups (as opposed to consistently dry, flaky skin)?
YES
NO

Mostly NO

All or mostly "No" answers suggest you may have a dry skin condition, due to either a naturally dry skin type or environmental factors.

This might sound like a preferable alternative to eczema, but it still means you're going to have to give your skincare routine a shake-up. Flaky, tight and uncomfortable skin means the hydrolipidic barrier is weak and/or damaged. This barrier's job is to seal in essential moisture and oils, keeping your skin safe and soothed. When it isn't functioning properly, the skin dries out and cracks appear in the surface, resulting in the white flakes we associate with dry skin.

You can help repair this barrier by using a repairing cleanser and moisturiser. The La Roche-Posay hypoallergenic Nutritic collection has been specifically formulated for dry skin, reconstituting the hydrolipidic film and the epidermal layer, relieving tightness and dry flakes. For very dry skin, the Nutritic Intense Rich facial moisturiser is a beautifully creamy formula designed to deeply hydrate and repair dry skin without provoking sensitivity.

Mostly YES

You'll need a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis, but if you've answered YES to all or most of these questions, it could be that you are suffering from eczema, a condition suffered by over 30 million Americans according to a study in 2007. More recently, a 2012 Swedish survey reported 40% of participants having suffered from eczema.

While these findings might tell us that eczema-sufferers shouldn't feel alone, what can they do about the symptoms of eczema, especially the itching that can lead to scratching and further epidermal damage?

Depending on the severity of the condition, a dermatologist may prescribe medicated creams to help reduce the flare-up. Alongside, or instead of, medication (for less serious cases), a simple change in body care products can significantly alleviate the symptoms of dry skin. Lipikar Baume AP+ is a lipid-replenishing balm that can be used by the whole family (even babies from the first day of life) to soothe itching and help repair the skin's barrier function. For the shower, Lipikar Syndet AP+ is a high-tolerance cleanser that gently washes the skin while locking in moisture.

Skin diagnostic

1. Did you know that eczema sufferers often also have asthma and/or allergies like hayfever? Doctors call this combination the Atopic. While they aren't sure exactly what predisposes someone to eczema/asthma/allergies, they are all thought to be related to an genetically-inherited overactive immune system.

2. While the location can vary between different forms of eczema, most cases are recognisable because they pop up in isolated patches, such as along the fingers, on the eyelids or behind the knees/elbows.

3. One of the biggest tell-tale symptoms of eczema is an itching sensation, even before the break-out shows itself. This itching can be unbearable, causing the sufferer to scratch, which in turn damages the skin surface, even causing the skin to bleed/ooze and infection to set in.

4. If your symptoms are consistent all-year-round, and you don't feel any itching, it's more likely you suffer from dry skin, as eczema usually presents through intense flare-ups. These can be due to contact with an irritant, stress, the weather, lifestyle and even hormones.

What can we take away from this quiz and the results? That eczema is more common than many people think, and that the symptoms – as well as those of dry skin – can be alleviated through a gentle tailored skincare routine.