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Eczema: can it be cured?

"Can eczema be cured?": this is one of the most frequently asked questions during medical consultation or even outside the medical context. There is no precise yes or no answer, but families are often in search of clear information.

ECZEMA OVER TIME

In the large majority of cases, atopic eczema appears during the first year of life and disappears around the age of 5-6 years. However, talking about true "healing" is inappropriate because the skin does not change composition and particularly maintains its sealing problems: the skin remains dry and/or sensitive.

In the same way, atopy refers to a predisposition to developing certain diseases. Growing up, the child might no longer have eczema but can suffer from asthma, rhinitis or conjunctivitis. Impossible to predict what will be the next development or atopic syndrome.

Furthermore, sometimes we think we are cured of eczema, but it can reappear in adulthood after years or even decades of remission.

For other forms of eczema such as contact eczema, the clear and definitive elimination of the allergenic substance puts an end to flare-ups. But if there is fresh contact with the substance, the eczema plaques reappear. Speaking of "healing" is not appropriate in this case either.

ACTIVE PHASES AND REMISSION PHASES

One of the most important ideas to remember about eczema is its chronic and recurrent nature. This idea can really bother parents at the moment of diagnosis and they must receive the right information.

Flare-ups refer to the active phases of the disease, whereas remissions are phases of respite or latency.

Local treatments cannot cure eczema. They serve both to quickly stop inflammation and itching during flare-ups and to strengthen the skin during remission phases in order to limit or increase the intervals between new flare-ups.