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Red plaques (erythema, eczema that stings and burns)

Eczema is a skin disease characterized by red plaques (eczema lesions). The location of these lesions varies, especially depending on the type of eczema and on age. But the mechanism leading to the appearance and then disappearance of these plaques is always the same.

Acute eczema

On a microscopic level, inflammation causes structural changes in the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) and the dermis (layer located just below the epidermis). To the naked eye, this inflammation appears as roughly outlined red plaques.

In theory, acute eczema includes four successive phases:
  • an "erythematous phase" during which smooth red plaques appear;
  • a "vesicle phase" marked by the presence of tiny vesicles full of clear liquid;
  • an "oozing phase" where micro vesicles burst, either spontaneously or after scratching;
  • a "scab phase", followed by the lesion disappearing.

During an eczema flare-up, it is not possible to individualize these four phases, and we only observe the eczema symptoms meaning the rough, red plaques. Eczema plaques heal without scarring, except in rare cases where scratching is particularly intense.

Chronic eczema

Chronic eczema is characterized by a thickening of the skin. The skin also becomes darker and takes on a crisscross pattern. Chronic eczema plaques are more common in older children and adults. They are more difficult to treat, but often end up disappearing in the same way as acute eczema plaques.

Beyond the purely visual aspect, the plaques are often accompanied by tingling, overheating or even burning sensations, itching and finally a lot of discomfort.

To sum up, eczema plaques are really inflammatory plaques since they combine the four core elements of an inflammatory reaction: redness, swelling, heat and pain.