June 26, 2017

Eczema, a skin condition that causes red, itchy rashes, affects over 30 million people in the United States. Because the symptoms of eczema can be so visible, many people with this condition regularly hear frustrating comments. Whether it’s stares from a stranger or well-intentioned advice from that friend who thinks they have a medical degree, people with eczema are often on the receiving end of insensitive questions. In this video, we share five things you should never say to someone with eczema

One of the most common questions eczema patients will get is whether or not their condition is contagious. The answer? No. While experts don’t know the exact cause of eczema, genetics and environment are thought to play a role. So go ahead, give a friend with eczema a hug

RELATED: The Best Ways to Cope With Eczema on Your Face, According to Dermatologists 

Next, try to stop yourself from saying, “At least it’s not…” While it’s true that eczema isn’t life-threatening, it can be a serious burden. People with eczema need to be extremely careful about coming in contact with potential allergens, household chemicals, and even extreme weather, all of which may exacerbate symptoms. Itchy rashes can also keep people with eczema up at night and impact their relationships. 

Watch the video: What It’s Like to Live With Eczema, According to Someone Who Has It

Another piece of advice to avoid giving? “You should use antibacterial soap.” For one thing, eczema isn’t the result of a lack of cleanliness. Plus, the product can actually aggravate, rather than alleviate, symptoms, experts say.

Finally, if you’re not a specialist, steer clear of suggesting medications to your friends with eczema; most people have already tried many MD-recommended treatments and are aware of what works for their skin (and what doesn’t). And don’t draw attention to someone’s eczema flare-up—ever. “OMG! Were you in a fire? What happened to you?” is never a kind thing to say.