Friday, September 11, 2009

What Does Eczema Look Like?

A common question that many people ask who suspect that they might have eczema is “What does eczema look like?”. Eczema can take on many different forms, and show up on many different parts of the body. There really isn’t one specific locale for this skin problem; it can appear on hands, feet, faces, fingers, thighs, backs, practically any area of the body where there’s skin there can also be eczema. Exact causes of eczema are still speculative, as some people believe it is due to external factors such as possible food allergies, skin irritants such as certain types of detergents, or environmental conditions (climate changes or harsh, dry weather, etc.), while others believe it is due to solely internal factors such as stress, or a malfunction in the nervous system and the way that it perceives and responds to environmental threats such as allergens and so forth. Also known as dermatitis, eczema is basically a skin disorder that causes inflammation of the epidermis (a.k.a. the outermost layer of the skin), and appears on the skin as a rash with dryness and/or raised bumps that are painful and sensitive to the touch. When I was dealing very heavily with eczema, mine mainly showed up on my inner thighs, hips, and stomach below the belly button. One time when the rashes got really intense, they literally extended from the bottom of my butt cheek (sorry for being so graphic) all the way down the back of my thigh, and to the top of my calf muscle. That completely sucked. I have never dealt with eczema above the waist level, but I have seen other people with hand and face eczema. As an example, one of my good friend’s sons (about 3 years old) had a pretty bad case of eczema on his face; his cheeks were completely “eaten up” with harsh rashes that looked dark red and patchy. I truly felt sorry for him; thankfully, as he grew older, the eczema cleared up. I learned later that eczema is actually not that uncommon in babies and toddlers, as their brand new skin is still adjusting to this brand new environment outside of the womb. At any rate, here are some photos to give you a good picture of what eczema looks like:

So there you have it—a visual representation of what eczema looks like. I feel sorry for every single person in these photos, because I have experienced first-hand the pain, the skin rashes, and the aggravation of having sensitive skin due to eczema. One thing that I found to be quite odd is how sometimes the areas of the skin that have been affected by eczema seem to lose their “suppleness” and begin to take on an almost leather-like feel. I have dealt with this before, and still have traces of it a little bit on my inner thighs and hips. Sometimes when the weather is extremely dry or cold outside, those same areas can get really dry and start flaking, almost like dandruff. I know all of this sounds gross, and part of me is embarrassed about putting myself out there like that for all to read, but at this point, I don’t give a crap. I hope that some of what I’ve learned and come to experience as far as my being able to (for the most part) whip eczema could be an encouragement to others who may be struggling with this same skin problem. But long story short, in answer to the question “what does eczema look like”, I hope this post has been helpful.


  1. Thank you for your candid explanation.
    Do not feel embarrassed at all!

  2. These photos are so painful how will they be bearing it.