Eczema is a common skin condition that affects as many as 15% – 20% of people in their lifetime. It’s estimated that 15 million people are affected by eczema. Though it is not contagious, it can be triggered by a number of factors – including weakened immune system, genetics, environmental triggers, and stress.
Eczema leaves skin dry, itchy, red, scaly, and cracked. In more severe cases, it can also cause bleeding and weeping. There is no ‘cure’ for eczema but there are certain ways to get rid of it, to prevent symptoms from developing, or from flare-ups worsening. Below are a few tips to help you create a skincare routine that won’t adversely affect your eczema.
KEEP YOUR SKIN CLEAN
Keeping your skin clean is a vital starting point for any skincare routine as it is the foundation of all skin treatment. To gently cleanse your skin, do not use harsh soaps or chemical solutions. These can destroy your upper skin layers, unbalance its pH equilibrium and cause inflammation, and also lead to the degeneration and aging of your skin. Instead, stick with a simple, natural cleanser.
Cleansers are an excellent way of removing dirt, impurities, and dead skin cells from the skin without damaging or over-drying it. Having eczema doesn’t mean your skin is too sensitive or delicate for cleansing.
When selecting a cleanser, look for products that are gentle on the face or are designed specifically for sensitive skin. These cleansers won’t be any less effective than others, but they will be formulated to cleanse while protecting your more sensitive skin.
MAKE SURE TO MOISTURIZE
The next step in any skincare routine should be to moisturize. After you’ve cleaned your skin, it is perfectly primed to absorb everything in the eczema cream, serum, or ointment. The moisturizer then acts as a barrier to seal it all into the skin so it can work most effectively.
An eczema-friendly moisturizer can play a vital role in your skin-care routine, not only by helping relieve some of the itch of dry skin but also by helping your skin heal. A further benefit is that it may even decrease your need for eczema medication and prevent eczema flare-ups from becoming difficult to treat. Moisturizer can stave off dry skin and help protect the skin’s top layer against the elements. This should ensure that eczema remains under control and is not aggravated by any external factors.
When selecting a moisturizer, it was found that lotions containing ceramides provided sustained moisturization for people with eczema and could allow for less frequent applications of creams throughout the day. These types of moisturizers could be beneficial for eczema sufferers and their skincare routine in the long-term.
FIND A BALANCE
No two cases of eczema are exactly alike and, consequently, what works for some people may not work for others. Therefore, it is important to experiment with your routine to find what works.
Certain products may be better at rehydrating and relieving skin while others may work better alongside prescribed eczema medical creams. Each individual has a unique skin type and suffering from eczema may make it more difficult to find products that best treat your skin. However, if you persevere then you will find the combination of products that works best for you.
WHAT TO AVOID
Eczema can make skin much more sensitive to certain substances and the National Eczema Association recommends avoiding the following items:
- Fragrances – the sensitive skin caused by eczema causes many people to react badly to fragrances. Products that contain added fragrances should be avoided whenever possible.
- Essential oils – natural fragrances are equally as likely to cause reactions as synthetic fragrances. These can further irritate the skin and cause aggravation.
- Retinoids – these are a class of medicines related to vitamin A. They play an important role for both acne and anti-aging, but often irritate the skin and can trigger eczema flares.
- Ethanol – this is an ingredient in gels and its lightweight, cooling properties make it great for hair-bearing areas. However, for people with eczema and sensitive skin, alcohols can sting, burn, and dry out the skin, so it is best avoided.
Creating a skincare routine when dealing with eczema can be challenging. There are many factors to consider and there is some trial-and-error involved in finding the products that work best for you. However, a few changes to your routine can benefit your skin in the long-term and hopefully prevent eczema flare-ups in the future.
Patrick is a freelance writer and interested in providing advice for those seeking surgical procedures. His own past surgical experiences have informed his writing and he is passionate about sharing the best advice for people looking to undergo their own procedures.