Does eczema leave scars?

Does eczema leave scars?

Eczema and scars

Eczema does not usually leave any marks

Eczema is an inflammatory skin disease characterized by changes in the upper layer of the skin called the epidermis. The epidermis is made up of cells stacked on top of each other and is often compared to a brick wall. It is this wall that is altered by eczema, which expands the spaces between the cells and results in the formation of vesicles, corresponding to the small "blisters" visible on eczema patches during flare-ups. The epidermis has the ability to completely rebuild itself, which is why it returns to normal once the eczema flare-up is healed. This means that eczema does not leave scars.

However, some marks can sometimes remain

  • At the location where eczema patches have healed, particularly on dark skin or when there has been sun exposure, white patches may persist due to skin depigmentation secondary to inflammation. But these patches are temporary and skin returns to normal in a few weeks on its own or after sun exposure.

  • When eczema patches persist, they tend to thicken. This is especially noticeable in the areas where atopic eczema is most common, such as the wrists, ankles, elbows and knees. In addition, scratching promotes this thickening, which itself is a source of itching. A real vicious circle then sets in. Over time, even if the eczema is cured, thickened skin, sometimes a little darker and with visible streaks on the surface, may persist. It tends to diminish with age. This can be prevented by topical corticosteroid therapy from the first flare-ups.

Some complications may leave scars

However, these are very rare.

Eczema can sometimes become superinfected with bacterial germs such as staphylococcus or streptococcus or with the herpes virus. Once again, this impetigo or herpes usually heals without scarring because it only affects the epidermis. Nevertheless, if scratching is excessive or if the infection goes deeper, scars may persist, as is sometimes seen after chicken pox.

By Dr Martine Avenel-Audran - Dermatologist in Angers

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