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Follicular eczema is the form of a common skin condition — atopic dermatitis — with reactions that occur in the hair follicle. Atopic dermatitis occurs when your skin’s outer layer is unable to protect you from external threats, such as allergens, bacteria, or other irritants.
According to the National Eczema Association, the exact cause of follicular eczema is unknown, but you may be more at risk if there is a history of asthma, hay fever or eczema in your family.
Because it occurs in hair follicles, follicular eczema reactions tend to look like goosebumps that won’t go away. Hair in the affected region may stand on end, and inflammation can show up as redness, swelling, itchiness, or warmth.
Other general symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:
- a rash on the face, hands, feet, arms, or legs
- cracked, dry or scaly skin
- crusty or weepy sores
Although eczema has no cure, you can treat its symptoms. Commonly, dermatologists recommend corticosteroid creams. Your doctor might also suggest specific skin cleansers and moisturizers.
There are several self-care methods of treating active flare-ups of follicular eczema and atopic dermatitis, including:
- placing a warm, clean washcloth on the affected area
- soaking the affected area in warm water
- applying moisturizer immediately after removing the cloth or exiting the bath
- keeping your skin moisturized with fragrance-free moisturizers (at least once daily)
- wearing loose-fitting clothes
Purchase corticosteroid creams and fragrance-free moisturizers online.
Bathing is another way to help symptoms associated with follicular eczema. An eczema-relief bath or shower should be:
- Warm. Avoid using extreme hot or cold temperatures, gently pat your skin dry and immediately moisturize the skin after any bathing.
- Limited. Only take a bath or shower once daily for 5 to 10 minutes; more time may lead to increased skin dryness.
You might also consider adding a small amount of bleach to your bath water to relieve symptoms. For bleach baths, use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of household bleach (not concentrated), depending on the size of the bath and the amount of water used.
Some of the most common irritants for people who are experiencing atopic dermatitis symptoms include:
- chemicals in everyday products such as soap, detergent, shampoo, cologne/perfume, surface cleaners, etc.
- changes in weather
- bacteria in your environment (e.g., certain kinds of fungus)
- allergens such as pollen, dust, mold, pet dander, etc.
Stress can also exacerbate atopic eczema. It’s not always easy to avoid stress, but if you can remove yourself from stressful situations, or practice meditation, for example, when you feel yourself getting anxious, it may help your symptoms.
If you think you are experiencing the signs of follicular eczema, make an appointment with your dermatologist. If you do not have a relationship with a dermatologist, your primary care doctor can make a recommendation.
Through a physical examination and review of your medical history, your dermatologist can accurately judge the type of eczema you are experiencing and recommend a treatment regimen.
Not everyone will respond to a treatment in the same way, so if your symptoms persist or become worse your dermatologist can suggest different treatment options.