Few people realise that eczema has three quite distinct stages of development – acute, sub-acute and chronic. Each of these stages has their own varied symptoms that show what stage of development the condition is in.
A caveat to this, is that these atopic and non-atopic stages cycle through these stages differently. An eczema sufferer could start in the subacute stage, revert back to acute, then bounce right up to chronic; every person is different. In this post, we take a look at what these stages look like and how long they take to clear.
Acute Stage Eczema
An acute stage of eczema refers to an eczema rash that has just begun. The first sign is often itching and can happen before the rash is even apparent – quite different than most other types of rashes.
Some characteristics of the stage of acute eczema include:
- Extreme redness
- Intense itching
- Fluid-filled blisters, which tend to weep
Subacute Stage of Eczema
Eczema may also begin at the subacute stage. The subacute stage refers to the transitional phase between the acute and chronic stages.
At the subacute stage, eczema presents these characteristics:
- Flaky, scaly skin
- Cracks in the skin
Subacute eczema symptoms tend to be less severe – especially with itching. Burning and stinging in this stage however can be more intense. In subacute eczema, rash borders aren't as distinct. The rash is dry instead of blistered and oozing.
Many acute eczema rashes move into the subacute phase as they start to heal. Subacute rashes can often revert back into the acute phase during an eczema flare-up, while long-lasting subacute rashes often become chronic.
For some people, eczema starts as a subacute rash and doesn’t transition to other stages. Rashes that commonly start and stay at the subacute stage are classed as irritant contact dermatitis and perioral dermatitis.
Chronic Stage of Eczema
The chronic stage refers to eczema flares that are longer-lasting. In general, it takes three or more months for chronic eczema symptoms to appear.
Chronic eczema isn't solely determined by a timeframe, however. It has its own set of symptoms that are quite different from the other two stages.
Chronic stage eczema symptoms include:
- Thickened, leathery-looking skin or lichenification (called lichen simplex chronicus)
- Accentuated skin lines
- Cracks in the skin
- Dark, dull, or discoloured skin
- Larger areas of skin breakdown called excoriations
Symptoms can be quite severe during the chronic stage, which affects the course of treatment. As is during the acute stage, itching is quite intense, thus many of the symptoms are caused by repeated scratching of the skin.
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Read the information on Eczema Free capsules.