ECZEMA CRAQUELE or Cracked Skin Eczema
Cracked Skin Eczema or Eczema Craquele or Asteatotic eczema as it is sometimes called, occurs in older people who have a tendency to have thinner and dryer skin. The word Craquele is a French word meaning, "covered with cracks", as seen on the surface of old china. It was first described by the French dermatologist Brocq in 1907. This is also known as asteatotic eczema and it occurs in older people who have thinner and dryer skin. In Eczema Craquele, Large dry scales may form on the skin giving a "crazy-paving" appearance to the skin. It’s often worse in winter and appears on the legs, arms, and hands. Eczema Craquele is characterized by dry, skin cracks and redness. It is extremely common in communities of elderly people and may be triggered by soap remaining on the skin after a bed bath. Using a good moisturizing routine and switching from soap to a cleansing bar for dry sensitive skin such as Neutrogena moisturizing gentle cleansing bar or Dove can alleviate it. Steroid creams are generally best avoided because the underlying skin is already very thin and delicate.
Fair-skinned, sensitive or elderly people who bathe a lot in hot showers or tubs can develop an asteatotic eczema that can be extremely intractable. Remembering that the skin's pH is acidic, around 5.0, and all water is slightly alkaline, especially if there are many calcium and magnesium salts in it, it is easy to see how this happens. Cessation of bathing and showering for a while may be necessary to clear the skin of these unfortunate patients. An alkaline skin is increasingly susceptible to the irritant effects of water alone, and the hyper-irritability of the skin can be prolonged; it takes 3 months for a fracture to heal, similarly with the skin. The skin must be put at rest and allowed lubrication for that length of time before it recovers.
Eczema Craquele is commonly associated with other eczemas which while similar have slight differences.
Eczema Craquele occurs in older people who have thinner and dryer skin. Eczema Craquele occurs more often in winter and appears on the legs, arms, and hands. It is characterized by dry, cracked, fissured skin and redness. Large dry scales may form on the skin giving a "crazy-paving" appearance to the skin.
Asteatotic eczema affects the legs and feet in elderly persons thought to be the result of dry skin, dehydration and malnutrition. Asteatotic eczema almost always affects people over the age of 60. The cause is not known but asteatotic eczema can be linked to a decrease in the oils on the skin surface, low humidity, over cleansing of the skin, hot baths, scrubbing the skin and vigorous towel drying. Pre-existing dryness and roughness of the skin are also linked to this type of eczema.
Winter itch occurs during cold weather. Cold weather wreaks havoc on our skin, sometimes making it dry and flaky. Skin dries out if it's deprived of water and this dryness often causes itchiness, resulting in a condition commonly referred to as "winter itch." Winter itch is not specifically a condition of the elderly, anyone may suffer from dry, flaky skin in the winter time. Winter itch is not isolated to the legs, arms and hands but can occur anywhere on the body.
Xerotic eczema is characterized by changes that occur when skin becomes abnormally dry, itchy, and cracked. Lower legs tend to be especially affected, although it can appear in the under arm area as well. Xerotic eczema is common in elderly people, though it can occur in people as early as their 20s. It can appear in red, bumpy, pimple-like irritations. Shaving can cause xerotic eczema to become inflamed.
All of these types of eczema will respond positively to the care and control tips listed below:
1) Use moisturizers regularly, particularly after bathing. Using a moisturizer like jojoba oil will effectively treat dryness and even difficult areas such as heels and elbows, softening the skin and providing protection. Jojoba oil is very similar oil produced by the sebaceous glands which comes from the dermal of the skin. Jojoba oil will not clog the pores and is non-allergenic. You can learn more about the restorative properties of jojoba oil at JojobaCare.
2) Avoiding over heating rooms. Consider using a humidifier to keep heated indoor air moist. Humidified air is easier to breathe, too. Room humidifiers in bedroom may help (keep humidity above 50%).
3) Limiting and adjusting the method of bathing. Baths dry out the skin more than showers, and hot or cold water is more drying than warm. One or two thorough baths or showers a week can be supplemented by daily sponge baths under the arms. Take short baths or showers with warm water. Hot water can make you itch more. Ask your doctor about the use of oatmeal soaking products in your bath to help control the itching. After bathing, don't rub your skin dry with a rough towel. That just irritates your skin more. Gently pat it dry to get the water off.
4) Avoiding the use of deodorant soaps. many soaps contain ingredients that can be irritating to the skin. Deodorant soaps can further irritate the skin. Deep cleansing is a popular notion but if a skin product is too harsh or aggressive the result can be irritation, redness, itching and clogged pores. If a product removes too much of the body's natural protective oils, the skin can become dry, flaky producing a cracked or craquele appearance. Change wash-cloths and body towels after each use. They are a great place for bacteria to grow and be reapplied to the skin later. Neutrogena 'moisturizing gentle cleansing bar for dry, sensitive skin is an excellent option in skin care. Other options in cleansing bars include: Dove "normal white bar" that has been known for years for use on sensitive skin. Neutrogena (the transparent facial bar) "dry skin formula - fragrance free" is very good.
5) Avoiding excessive friction on the skin, such as scrubbing with harsh wash cloths or wearing woolen clothing. Stay away from irritants or substances, which can trigger allergic reactions.