Being diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, can be both a relief and a source of confusion. You're probably relieved to actually know why your skin has been itchy, red, and irritated. But you may have heard so much about eczema from such an array of sources that you're simply not sure what is true and what is not. Well, if you keep reading, you will learn about some eczema myths that can be very misleading. The real information will keep you on the right track when it comes to treatment.

Myth: Eczema is contagious.

Doctors and researchers are not entirely sure what causes eczema. It seems like there might be a genetic component. An over-reactive immune system seems to play a role, at least in some cases. But one thing is for sure: this is not a contagious disease. You don't have to worry about giving it to someone, even if they directly touch the affected skin.

Myth: Eczema is just an allergic reaction.

For many people, eczema symptoms do get worse if they come into contact with certain substances, such as coloring agents and preservatives. But this is not an allergy because it does not involve the release of histamines — the compounds responsible for allergy symptoms. It's simply your skin being overly irritated by these substances. So do not turn to allergy pills for your eczema because they are unlikely to be effective.

Myth: Eczema doesn't need to be treated.

There are a few different versions of this myth. Some people want you to think that eczema is just a cosmetic problem, so the only reason to treat it is that you're feeling self-conscious about your appearance. Other people may tell you that the condition will soon go away on its own, so there's no reason to seek treatment. Neither of these positions is correct or wise. Eczema is uncomfortable and itchy, and treatment can relieve that discomfort. There is nothing weak about wanting that relief. Also, it's important to treat eczema because, without that treatment, things can get worse. You're likely to contract a bacterial infection if you scratch the irritated skin too much, for example.

Hopefully, you now know a little more about eczema and eczema treatment. If you hear anything else about this condition that seems like it may not be true or complete, reach out to your doctor. You can rely on them to be a reliable source of accurate information.

For more atopic dermatitis information, contact your doctor.