After the lazy, hazy days of summer, getting back to work means increased levels of stress. You may find that your eczema had seemed under control and now suddenly returns. Here are some tips to help get it under control again.
1. Moisturize your skin every day
Keeping your skin moisturized is the most important thing you can do to reduce your eczema flare-ups. That’s because the upper layer of skin serves as a barrier to stop water from evaporating, and in people with eczema, that layer doesn’t work properly. As a result, the skin tends to get dry and irritated, which can set off a bout of eczema.
- Every day, even when you don’t have any breakouts, apply a moisturizer designed for sensitive skin.
- Opt for ointments (also called pomades), because they more effectively retain water in the skin and prevent evaporation. If you don’t like their sticky texture, apply an oil-based cream during the day, for quicker absorption, and an ointment at night.
- The best time to apply a moisturizer is just after you get out of the shower or bath. Pat your skin dry and then apply the moisturizer.
- If you need to apply topical medication to your eczema patches, apply it first, followed by your moisturizer 15 minutes later.
2. Manage your stress
Stress can trigger an eczema flare-up. Try to identify the situations that cause you stress, and then avoid them if possible, by making changes to your routine or lifestyle. Otherwise, learn to better control your stress levels with strategies such as breathing or relaxation techniques.
3. Avoid irritants
Many products and situations can trigger eczema flare-ups. By reducing your exposure to these irritants, you could reduce the frequency of your flare-ups.
- Laundry detergents: chose scent-free products
- Cleaning products: wear gloves to avoid skin contact
- Fragrances: avoid any contact with your skin (including scented cosmetics and personal care products such as shampoo)
- Cigarette smoke: consider quitting smoking, or ask smokers not to light up around you
- Rougher fabrics, such as wool: opt for softer fabrics like cotton, bamboo, silk, etc.
- Allergens (e.g. pollen, mites, animal hair): get tested for allergies and consider undergoing desensitization if it is available for your allergens
If you have any questions on eczema, don’t hesitate to consult your pharmacist.