Eczema is most recognizable by its dry, cracked appearance. The breakout irritation causes the affected area to be inflamed, and the rash becomes extremely itchy. Excess scratching can lead to complications, so it is crucial to refrain from scratching as often as possible.
Usually, the skin will become itchy before the actual rash appears. The itchiness only worsens as the rash appears in red patches. The itchiness becomes most intense at night and after getting out of hot water, such as a bath or shower. Scratching can cause the skin to break, leading to bleeding and small raised bumps that often become crusted over.
Eczema can appear anywhere on the body but typically occurs on the hands, feet, elbow bend, or behind the knees. Scratching will cause the rash to redden and may also cause mild swelling. In some cases, eczema will occur around the eyes or even on the eyelid. It is imperative not to scratch any eczema rashes around the eye because if the skin breaks, you may get an eye infection.
Eczema never goes away and can come back even after lying dormant for years. Various triggers can cause an eczema outbreak on your skin, but the triggers vary from person to person.
If you have any of the above symptoms, you may have eczema. The rash itself will not go away by itself, but you can do other things to ease the irritation until the rash is gone. (See our treatment article for more information.) Suppose you’re more comfortable with a doctor’s diagnosis. In that case, you can expect the doctor to closely analyze the skin and possibly take a skin sample to ensure identification.
Doctors will also look back at your family history to see if skin conditions run in your family, especially eczema. Suppose you or your family has a history of other skin conditions. In that case, this could indicate that you may have eczema if the symptoms fit.