Those affected by the disease can experience periods of outbreaks where symptoms are more severe followed by remission periods where the symptoms subside. Heredity plays a role in your odds of developing eczema. Children whose parents both suffer from eczema have an 80% chance of also developing the disease. However, eczema can also be caused by allergic reactions to poison ivy or even chemical products that alter the outer layer of skin, such as strong soaps, certain detergents, and any other substances that dry out or irritate the skin. Eczema is often associated with asthma and hay fever. It generally appears in childhood, often before the age of five, and can continue into adulthood. In babies and toddlers, lesions mainly appear on the scalp, face, neck, behind the arms, on the front of the legs, and on the torso. However, older children, teens, and adults are more likely to present lesions in the crook of the arms, behind the knees, or on the hands, wrists, ankles, and face.
To keep eczema in check, keep your skin sufficiently moisturized and steer clear of the factors that trigger your eczema outbreaks.
MOISTURIZE YOUR SKIN
Take a bath or a shower in warm water every day for about five minutes to hydrate your skin. Pat yourself dry to avoid irritating your skin.
Use moisturizers or emollients regularly to keep your skin well hydrated. Apply your moisturizer within three minutes of your bath or shower to capture the moisture on your skin for optimal hydration. Get into the habit of moisturizing your skin each time you feel the need. Regardless of whether you use a cream or a lotion, choose a moisturizer that’s hypoallergenic and contains no fragrances or colorants.
CAUTION Be careful when choosing lotions because they often contain alcohol or preservatives that can irritate your skin.
AVOID SKIN IRRITANTS
Use a gentle soap or an unscented and moisturizing liquid cleanser (look for the words “unscented” or “fragrance free”) for washing sensitive skin. Ordinary scented soaps can irritate the skin and aggravate eczema.
Use a light detergent to wash your clothes and avoid whiteners (like bleach) and softeners to reduce the risk of irritation. If even light detergents make your skin itchy, try putting your clothes through an extra rinse cycle after washing.
Opt for cotton clothing and sheets. Wool, linen, and synthetic fibers often have a rougher texture that can irritate the skin and intensify eczema.
Cold, dry weather can also lead to eczema outbreaks. Keep your skin sufficiently moisturized to protect your skin.
Stress and anxiety are both factors that can trigger eczema outbreaks. So it’s best to learn how to manage your stress, either by regularly playing a sport or doing relaxation exercises.
TEST PRODUCTS BEFORE USING THEM
There are no miracle products for the skin when you suffer from eczema. That’s why, before applying a cosmetic product or cleanser on your whole body or face, you should first test it on a small area of skin not affected by eczema to see if a reaction occurs after 24 hours. If everything looks good, you should be able to use the product without any problems.
KEEP OUT MITES
Mites are tiny insects that are invisible to the naked eye. They prefer warm, moist environments and are most commonly found in sheets, pillows, mattresses, and carpets. Although mites are usually harmless, they can aggravate eczema by irritating the skin.
A FEW TIPS for eliminating mites
- Place mite- and dust-proof covers on your mattress and pillows.
- Avoid carpets.
- Keep your room at a cool temperature.
- Vacuum and dust regularly.
Here are a few recommendations for relieving itchy, red, and dry skin caused by eczema.
The golden rule is simple: no scratching! Scratching damages the skin’s natural protection, which irritates it and makes your symptoms worse. Scratching also leaves your skin red and cracked, which can lead to infection.
RELIEVING RED AND DRY SKIN
Follow the recommendations above on keeping your skin sufficiently moisturized.
If you suffer from minor eczema, an over-the-counter corticosteroid-based cream may be enough to reduce inflammation. For more severe cases, stronger corticosteroid based creams or ointments or other physician-prescribed medications are often needed. Talk to your health professional. .
|A FEW TIPS on soothing itchy skin
- Apply moisturizer whenever your skin starts to itch.
- Store your moisturizer in the refrigerator; this will enhance its soothing properties.
- Apply cold compresses when you feel like scratching.
- Stay in cool areas and wear light clothing.
- Resist the urge to scratch. It’s better to rub or pinch your skin than to scratch it. For babies and young children, keep their fingernails trimmed and have them wear cotton mittens at night to prevent scratching.
- Itchy skin can sometimes be so severe that it disrupts your sleep. Talk to your health professional about the possibility of taking antihistamines to reduce itchiness and help you sleep.
The golden rule is simple: no scratching and keeping your skin sufficiently moisturized!