How to care for eczema-prone skin
It’s one of the most common skin conditions in the world, affecting millions of Australians. So what causes eczema, and how do you help manage it?
Eczema, or dermatitis, causes skin to become red, dry, itchy and inflamed and in severe cases, to blister and bleed.
Eczema can impact children from just a few months old right through to adults.
The most common form – atopic eczema – affects the cheeks, scalp, outside of arms and legs, and the trunk in infants. In older children and adults, it’s more likely to be the creases in the arms and behind the knee and wrists, ankles and neck.
What are the triggers?
While it’s not known exactly what causes eczema, it can run in families and often occurs when other allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma are present.
Some of the more common triggers for the condition include:
- Heat, including hot showers and baths, which can strip the skin of fats and oils
- Scrubbing the skin and some soaps, shampoos and washing powders
- Air-conditioning, overheating and weather conditions
- Tobacco smoke and pets
- Certain synthetic and woollen materials
How to help manage your eczema
Although it can look unpleasant, eczema isn’t contagious. It can be managed to reduce dry skin and itch – though the skin will always be sensitive to flare-ups and need extra care.
Baths and showers
Sufferers need to avoid irritation of the skin, including long, hot baths and showers. Keep your showers quick and cool, and back off the heavy soap use.
Washing your skin
Look for soap-free washes, and resist scrubbing the skin.
Apply moisturiser liberally, two or three times a day. You want to lock in moisture after showering or bathing to help protect the skin barrier.
Emollients are effective for eczema when used correctly as part of a daily skin care regime. They are used in lotions, ointments creams as well as bath and shower washes.
Avoid scratching, as hard as this might be, as it only irritates the skin further. Cold water in plastic wrapped in a towel and held against the skin can offer some relief.
And remember – if symptoms persist, see your GP or health professional for further advice on how to manage the condition and how best to prevent flare-ups and the itch-scratch cycle.
This post is brought to you by Ego QV Intensive with Ceramides.