Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Skin Eczema

Any discussion about skin eczema automatically catches my attention, having had first-hand experience with this skin problem. Eczema can definitely be an unruly beast at times. I know that in my personal experience, it would seem to be under control at times and not even visually discernible, but then on the wrong day, or with the wrong stressful situations in life’s background, all of a sudden those old red patches would show up again. I would most frequently get outbreaks right around the waistline, surrounding the belly button, and on the inner thighs. I also had a ravaging case of it on the back of my thighs, part of which spread all the way down to behind my knee and the top of my calf, but only on the right leg. How freakin’ weird is that??? One of the main things I remember was how sometimes the itching would come upon me so suddenly and so sharp that it literally felt like it took my breath. I know that may sound kind of strange, but I’m just telling you what my personal experience has been. Sometimes I would find myself daydreaming and just scratching away at those areas on my skin, and it was almost like a strange form of “relaxation”—it would give me time to think, albeit most of the time my thoughts were worries about whatever stressful situation I was dealing with on my job or what have you. I have heard that a lot of times eczema outbreaks can be linked to severe stress or life-altering circumstances, such as moving to a new state, getting married, having a child, or other major life events. Any type of new or “unfamiliar territory” can be grounds for an outbreak for people who have been prone to this skin condition in the past; well, it was for me at least. Sometimes the red bumps on the skin would feel like they were on fire; I would scratch them to the point of just having raw skin there…not a good thing at all, especially when you’re in the shower and the soap hits those spots. Those areas would frequently end up scabbing over, and by that time I would finally leave them alone long enough to heal up, and then the itching and scratching cycle would start again. It’s like I would lay off the scratching when I had done enough “damage”, but then get right back into it once it healed up. It became somewhat of a habitual cycle…go figure.

Eczema is officially classified as a skin “disease” although in my mind that seems to be a little bit of a misnomer, because it’s not contagious, nor can anyone “catch” it by coming into contact with your skin. I know that’s probably a narrow-minded set of criteria to say that the word “disease” is a misnomer for eczema, but in my mind it just works that way…again, go figure. You know how it is…a lot of times you go through life with your own made-up definitions or your own interpretations of what a word means, but you’ve never taken the time to actually look it up for yourself and find out the “real deal”. I decided to start doing some actual research online regarding eczema, and I’m telling you, after seeing some of the pictures of what eczema looks like, and some of the more severe cases that are out there, I don’t feel as bad about it at all. I have shown some of those pictures I found in previous posts; they are quite disconcerting to a viewer who may have never seen or known how far-reaching the effects of eczema can be. The skin rashes, the itchy skin, and the other symptoms of eczema are definitely no picnic, as I can personally attest to. On the technical side, eczema is also known as dermatitis, which is basically any type of inflammation of the epidermis, also known as the outermost layer of skin. In more severe cases, the skin can start bleeding, oozing and cracking, but in the milder cases (like that of my own—for the most part anyway), the skin just basically turns red, gets a little tougher to the touch, and develops small raised bumps that basically look like a rash of a sort. The jury is still out as to the actual causes of eczema, but I can personally attest to the fact that I believe stress has a whale of a lot to do with it. I will be going into some more details about the possible causes of skin eczema, but this post here has gotten WAY too long. Will resume later.

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