NOTE: There are different types of eczema, but the most common type, which is confused with dry skin, is atopic dermatitis. In this blog post, when we say “eczema” we are referring to atopic dermatitis.
Eczema and dry skin often get confused and are often spoken of interchangeably because the results – dry, itchy, irritated skin- are similar, but they are actually different conditions. What are the key differences?
*Eczema is a disease, not a temporary condition. Dry skin is often seasonal (worse in cold weather) or due to specific avoidable factors such as certain skincare ingredients. Eczema, on the other hand, is incurable and may last a lifetime (although symptoms usually become milder with age).
*Eczema almost always begins in childhood. 90% of people with eczema have it before their 5th birthday. It is rare for it to begin in adulthood.
*Eczema is likely genetic, whereas dry skin is often caused by environmental or other factors. While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, studies and research that genetics play a major role. Dry skin may occur due to certain cosmetic products, medications, weather (esp. wind and cold temperatures), air pollution, etc.
*While both may be a normal-looking rash or dry patch, eczema has other key symptoms. Eczema will often cause skin to be scaly, have leathery or thick texture, lighten or darken, and/or itch constantly.
Find Out More:
American Academy of Dermatology: https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/a---d/atopic-dermatitis/signs-symptoms
National Eczema Association: https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/atopic-dermatitis-2/