Eczema, a chronic, inflammatory condition of the skin affects over 30 million people world-wide. Those who suffer from it tend to have an overactive immune response to particular substances on their skin or inside their body, which produces inflammation. Most types of eczema present as red, itchy, scaly, and painful patches. While many are forced to contend with eczema for their entire life, there are ways to avoid flare-ups and mitigate discomfort.
Here are a few skincare basics to incorporate into your daily routine:
- Moisturize frequently. Moisturizing is important as it creates a protective barrier on your skin against offending substances. Between ointments, creams, and lotions, ointments tend to work best for eczema since they have the most oil content. Find a product that agrees with you and use it regularly.
- Choose unscented, gentle products. Chemicals and fragrances can be highly irritating for sensitive skin and cause eczema flare-ups. Consider this when purchasing any product that will ultimately come into contact with your skin, including ointments, shampoos, conditioners, detergents, and soaps.
- Hydrate. A good goal is eight cups, or about two liters, of fluid per day. As eczema is a condition of both dry skin and a compromised skin barrier, upping your water intake can help with maintaining good general health while also hydrating your skin. Remember that caffeine and alcoholic beverages are diuretics, so they don’t count toward your hydration goals.
- Use SPF. Daily sunscreen application is a must, whether you have eczema or not. The sun will cause additional harm to already compromised skin. Do research on sunscreens that are mineral-based, broad-spectrum for UVA and UVB rays, and is alcohol-free. Make sure they don’t contain anything that you are allergic to.
As we are in the midst of a pandemic, hand hygiene has been an important response in combating the spread of COVID-19. Thorough, frequent washing of our hands, for 20 seconds or more, using either alcohol-based hand sanitizers or standard, household soaps is recommended by the CDC. Unfortunately, excessive hand washing using either kind of product can be difficult for those suffering from hand eczema, also known as hand dermatitis. Some symptoms of hand eczema include painful dryness, redness, peeling, and/or blistering of the hands. While there’s no getting around having to wash your hands, here are some tips to minimize flare-ups:
- Use lukewarm water. Hand washing with soap is still effective at killing germs regardless of water temperature. Hot water is known to exacerbate eczema symptoms.
- Use a gentle cleanser. Research and purchase gentle cleansers and keep a supply at home of the one that works for you.
- Moisturize frequently. Each time you wash your hands, pat them dry and apply ointment afterwards.
Although coping with eczema can be both painful and frustrating, adhering to these basic practices can help ease the discomfort. Unfortunately, different triggers cause flare-ups for different people, so there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Test out moisturizers, detergents, and other products to find the ones that work for you and consult your doctor about any changes you may make to your routine.
This blog is intended to be informational in nature. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.