Eczema is a very common and uncomfortable skin condition. Although it often affects children, it can happen at any age. In fact, about 31.6 million people in the U.S. are dealing with a certain form of eczema. More than 15% of those affected are children.
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema can be a difficult condition to live with. It’s non-contagious, but the constant itchiness and redness can be overbearing. That’s why it is crucial for people to learn how to relieve the itch and prevent an outbreak.
If you want to learn more about dealing with eczema properly, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled only the most useful information and skincare tactics that will help keep your skin condition in check.
Skin Care Routine for Eczema Patients
According to experts, individuals with eczema have cracked and dry skin. This makes the skin prone to itching and reduces its protective function. Therefore, a special skincare routine becomes necessary.
The key to managing this condition is making sure that the skin doesn’t get too dry. With enough hydration, the inflammation, skin thickening, and itching will subside. Studies show that implementing proper skincare can decrease the need for steroid products.
Here is a typical step-by-step approach for soothing eczema.
|Step 1: Clean the oily skin with a gentle cleanser.||Step 1: Wash the face thoroughly with just water or a gentle cleanser.|
|Step 2: Apply the topical prescription medication to moisturize the skin. If you don’t have one, moisturizers or topical relief creams are the go-to choices.||Step 2: Apply topical corticosteroid (or any prescription medication) to ease the inflammation, redness, and give the skin enough nourishment to regenerate overnight.|
|Step 3: Cover the skin with sunscreen to prevent the UV rays from damaging the outer skin layer.||Step 3: Add a generous amount of moisturizer.
Tip: It is a good idea to wait for the moisturizer to get absorbed into the skin to avoid transferring the sticky surface to the pillow. This will create a clean sleeping area.
The flare-ups can be managed with anti-inflammatory creams, particularly those that contain steroids. These are what we call topical corticosteroids.
Implementing emollients (moisturizing products) on a regular basis can prove useful. They are designed to keep the skin hydrated and prevent dryness. Most people are using lotions, creams, and ointments.
What’s the Difference Between Lotions, Creams, and Ointments?
Moisturizing products are designed to contain water and lipids. Some of them might have a thicker consistency, while others are easier to apply. The impact of the lipids will vary based on the ingredients the product contains.
For example, you have:
– Creams: Creams are packed with water. Their watery surfaces feel very comfortable and pleasing to touch. So, an individual with eczema has a much easier time applying it.
– Lotions: Lotions feature the highest levels of water than all moisturizing products. The water will then evaporate, which will create a cooling-like effect and can dehydrate the skin.
– Ointments: Ointments are designed to add a thick layer that will protect the skin. It is the go-to choice for people who want to avoid dryness.
The key to selecting the right product for your condition is to pick out the one that will not irritate or burn the skin. Patients with eczema are advised to use moisturizing products with high lipids content.
Ointments can irritate the skin because of the hard application. They are also not a practical alternative since it takes a while for the skin to absorb them. Lotions, on the other hand, are incredibly watery.
For normal skin, they are a great option. But, eczema will dry out the skin. That’s why creams are the ideal alternative. They have just the right liquid consistency, are easy to use, and pleasant on eczema skin.
Why Is Moisturizing So Important for Eczema?
Moisturizers play a key role in managing this condition. Moisturizing regenerates the stratum corneum, also known as the outer layer of the skin. This is what we call the skin barrier. When eczema affects the skin, it damages that barrier. In turn, the body becomes sensitive to bacteria, allergens, irritants, and other invading pathogens.
The more the barrier is damaged, the harder it becomes for the skin to retain the necessary level of water. That’s why people have chronic itchy and dry skin.
In other words, between each eczema episode, the moisturizer can fend off dryness and shield the top skin layer from the elements. In most cases, people with eczema can use a moisturizer up to 4 times a day, right after cleansing their skin. This will seal in all that necessary moisture and prevent dry skin.
How Much Is Too Much?
Experts believe there is a limit to how much cortisone you can apply to the skin. Products such as these shouldn’t be used more than two times a day. You can also use them for a span of 2 weeks in a row, after which you would have to take a break. When you keep adding more and more cortisone, you end up thinning the skin.
What to Avoid With Eczema?
To prevent a flare-up or to worsen the discomfort on your skin, there are a couple of things you should avoid. If you are allergic to some foods, such as eggs, milk, wheat, or fish, make sure to avoid consuming them. Other types of allergens, like dust mites, can worsen the condition.
So, try to create an ideal environment that won’t irritate the skin. Based on reports from the National Eczema Association, it’s best to avoid prolonged exposure to wind, freezing temperatures, areas with low humidity, or submerging the skin too long in the water. When you are careful with the skin and use gentle soaps, you are less likely to experience a flare-up.
Eczema may be a difficult condition to manage. But, with the right skincare routine, you can overcome that discomfort and itchiness. Do have in mind that the symptoms of your condition may change with age. That’s why it is essential to check with your dermatologist to create a routine that’s perfect for your skin.