Eczema, a general term for skin inflammation, can affect people of any age, race or gender. This dry, reddened skin that itches or burns normally appears on the face, the neck, or the insides of elbows, knees and ankles. Eczema often result in blisters and lesions or dry and scaly skin, but the appearance varies from person to person.
Doctors have not been able to pinpoint an exact cause of this itchy skin condition, but they have concluded that it is a defect of the skin that impairs its function as a barrier. This may be a result of abnormalities in certain proteins, such as filaggrin, that assist in maintaining the barrier of normal skin. Eczema often occurs if you have a family history of the condition or other allergies and some forms of eczema can be triggered by substances that come in contact with the skin, such as soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewelry, or sweat.
Some common types of eczema may be prevented by following these simple recommendations.
1. Avoid over bathing
It is important to keep your skin clean, but over bathing can strip your skin of its natural moisture. Limit the amount of time spent in the bath and make sure water temperature is medium, not hot.
2. Apply moisturizer frequently
Consider purchasing Cleure's trio pack of moisturizers, which includes day cream, night cream and body lotion. No matter what, make sure your moisturizer of choice is non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, salicylate free and paraben free.
3. Use a mild soap and a gentle facial cleasner
Use a hypoallergenic soap and a facial cleanser that is free of sodium lauryl sulfate. Consider a cleanser that includes special emollients, which refresh and condition your skin without a greasy residue.
4. Limit or avoid contact with irritants
Irritants include anything that will upset your skin, such as perfume and detergents. Sensitive skin and hypoallergenic detergents should be used at all times. Likewise, if you wear makeup, be sure that it is not only hypoallergenic but also Salicylate Free.
5. Try various stress management techniques
If stress is a trigger of your eczema, be sure to engage in stress management techniques. Some great stress management techniques include exercise, yoga, acupuncture and meditation.
6. Avoid foods that cause an allergic reaction
Common food allergens are a frequent tipper for the most common kind of eczema, atopic eczema. Steer clear of eggs, milk, soybeans, salicylate, fish, and gluten if you notice a correlation.
7. Use a humidifier in both winter and summer.
The moisture that humidifiers add to the air combats the effects of dry air. Combating the effects of dry air can help lower the chances that eczema will appear.
The bottom line of these recommendations is practice good skin hygiene even when you are not having symptoms. If eczema does arise, speak with your doctor about the right treatment for you. A specific treatment will be prescribed for you based on your age, the type of eczema and the severity of the condition. Some possible treatment options you doctor may recommend are as follows:
1. Keep skin well hydrated at all times
Drink a lot of water, apply a sodium lauryl sulfate free moisturizer, and Emu oil, which is non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic and salicylate free.
2. Apply emollient creams after a bath in order to seal in moisture
Emollient creams help moisture and refresh the skin, which will help ease the symptoms of eczema.
3. Use corticosteroid creams to reduce inflammation
Corticosteroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, betametasone, fluticasone and mometasone, may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce the inflammatory reaction. Make sure these creams are free of sodium lauryl sulfate, which increases the permeability of the skin barrier and causes irritation. Another ingredient to avoid is salicylic acid, which may cause skin sensitivity.
4.Take an oral antihistamine
If itching is severe, oral antihistamines may be prescribed to ease the pain. Oral antihistamines are best taken around half an hour before bed to help guarantee a good night’s sleep, uninterrupted by the urge to scratch.
5. Apply a topical cream
Two topical creams, tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, have been approved by FDA for treatment. You should limit the use of these creams, especially if you have a compromised immune system.
About the Author: Dr. Flora Stay has practiced dentistry for over 25 years. She is also a published author, a professor at the USC School of Dentistry and a leading authority on health and wellness. Dr. Stay founded Cleure, a premier manufacturer of fluoride free and SLS free toothpaste and dental health products, as well as personal care products for salicylic acid allergy and sensitive skin care products.