If you have eczema, it’s understandable to think about its long-term effect on the skin. The condition looks bad. Sometimes it’s red and moist, other times the skin is tough and dry.
What is eczema doing to your skin? Will eczema cause premature wrinkles on the most sensitive areas of your body? These are normal questions to ask.
I’ve asked myself the same questions for years. When my eczema was at its worst, my skin looked paper-thin, old, and tired. It’s disconcerting to see skin so damaged, but don’t worry, there’s hope!
Once your skin heals from eczema the skin does an amazing job of repairing itself but there are a few things that are important to understand. If you are sensitive to common allergens make sure your eczema isn’t an allergic reaction.
Eczema and Wrinkles
#1 Eczema Thins Then Builds Skin
When you experience an eczema flare, it will go through a few different stages.
- Stage 1 Itch
- Stage 2 Redness
- Stage 3 Moisture and weeping (hopefully you don’t experience this stage)
- Stage 4 Dry, flaky skin that is healing
Your skin will be at its weakest at Stage 3 when it is red and weeping. It will also look its worst. The outer layers of the skin will have been rubbed, irritated, and weak.
At this time skin will also be prone to infection if it has been broken.
Stage 3 will be when your skin is at its weakest while stage 4 actually builds up your skin and that’s why skin will be flaky.
#2 Eczema Magnifies Wrinkles
One thing is true; when eczema’s at its worst, it magnifies wrinkles. I’ve become worried at times in my life when I thought my skin was too weak.
My eczema would flare and my skin was so itchy that I’d rub all the skin off. The itching occurred often at night when I was sleeping.
This was especially problematic around my eyes and neck where the skin is fairly thin. It’s unsightly and worrisome to see skin irritated and weak.
What I realized is that eczema around my eyes and neck made my small wrinkles bigger! My fine wrinkles were hardly seen when my skin was plump and healthy but highlighted when my skin was thin.
Sometimes it took a few weeks. Other times it took a few months but the skin made a slow comeback.
#3 Itching Eczema Can Cause Scarring That Is Difficult To Heal
I mentioned the stages of eczema above. One thing you should consider is the potential for scarring. Eczema itself won’t cause scars to your skin, however, if you itch (and I mean really itch) it can cause scarring.
Severe eczema can cause people to make deep fingernail scratches on their skin. If the scratching occurs chronically it can lead to scars.
Most people experience mild eczema and don’t have to worry about scarring.
Be mindful of the possibility of scarring and use antioxidant-rich natural moisturizers like grape seed oil and coconut oil to help heal damaged skin.
Find The Cause Of Your Eczema
If you’re worried about your skin, whether it be the appearance of wrinkles or discomfort, I’d recommend looking into why you’re experiencing eczema.
I put up with eczema for a long time because I thought it was something I had to live with. Sure, I have eczema, but it shouldn’t always feel itchy and irritated.
I can’t recommend enough that people with eczema be tested for allergies. Once I treated my allergies my eczema cleared up – it’s not 100% gone, but it’s much better than what I endured growing up.
Allergy immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, are what helped retrain my immune system to stop reacting to harmless things.
Once the skin around my eyes had the chance to heal, it became plump again and the fine wrinkles filled in.
Related: Treating Eye Eczema
Don’t panic if you have eczema. Treat the skin and if the irritant is gone the skin will heal within a week or two. My problem was that my irritants were always around and as a result, my skin was always itchy and inflamed.
Seeing what eczema can do to the skin is scary. It can make skin look weak, even old. But eczema won’t ruin your skin forever, nor will it cause premature wrinkles.
Eczema has a tendency to make your existing wrinkles worse. It highlights those fine lines you have on your face. Once your skin heals from eczema, many of the wrinkles will be less noticeable.
Make sure you apply anti-oxidant rich moisturizers to the healing skin so you don’t experience scars. Also, make sure you understand the stages of eczema – knowing the stages will help you understand why you may have more wrinkles at the moment.
As your skin clears you should notice your skin becoming more firm and structured.
Lastly, it’s important to figure out why you’re experiencing eczema. Many people with facial eczema are allergic to dust mites (dust mites live in pillows)!
Thanks for reading. Check out more of our articles where I discuss the dust mite and eczema connection.