Controlling Eczema By Moisturizing
Keeping your skins moisture intact is one of the most important things you can do to help control your eczema.
Moisturizers helps protect the outermost layer of skin known as the stratum corneum or skin barrier. People living with eczema have a damaged skin barrier, which makes their skin more sensitive to irritants, allergens, bacteria and other invaders. A damaged skin barrier also make it harder for the skin to retain water, leading to chronic dry, itchy skin, which can cause eczema to flare or get worse.
Wind, low humidity, cold temperatures, harsh soaps and prolonged exposure to water, all lead to dry skin. So, its important to understand how and when to properly moisturize and which products are best to use when you have eczema.
Some things to remember when moisturizing:
Lastly A Special Note About Scrubs:
Although scrubs may be a seemingly obvious fix for sloughing off dead skin, avoid using scrubs on skin with active eczema. A scrub by definition would likely be really irritating for skin affected by eczema. However, if the granules are soft , and if the base of the product is heavier and more ointment-like, then water may be trapped in the skin , and the hydration may soothe the eczema.
Tend To Your No 1 Priority: Controlling The Itch Of Eczema
Keeping itching under control is the most important job of any eczema treatment. The first symptom of an eczema outbreak may be an itch, which a patient scratches, explains Jessica Wu, MD, a Los Angelesbased dermatologist in private practice and author of Feed Your Face: Smoother Skin and a Beautiful Body in 28 Delicious Days. The scratching stimulates nerve endings in the skin and causes inflammation in the area, which turns into a visible rash and triggers further itching. Controlling the itch is key to controlling eczema outbreaks.
Ultimately, overcoming this itching can help prevent skin damage. According to the American Academy of Dermatology , skin infections are common in people who have eczema. Its a challenge to prevent eczema rashes from becoming infected, says Dr. Wu. Bacteria can enter the skin through scratches and other open areas. Ive seen increasing numbers of patients with eczema that becomes infected with staph and other bacteria.
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Childs Farm Unfragranced Moisturiser
Cheap and cheerful, this moisturiser is perfect for kids and suitable for newborns upwards. The cream is quickly absorbed without any stickiness and is unfragranced, so is suitable for use on the face and very sensitive skin. The rich texture helps relieve eczema, leaving skin visibly hydrated, smooth and nourished.
One Last Thing About Taming Eczema Symptoms With A Smart Skin
Remember that eczema symptoms may change as you age, as the AAD notes. Check in regularly with your dermatologist, who can help keep your eczema skin-care routine individualized, introduce you to newer treatment products, and help you sort through cleansers and moisturizers to find the best ones for you.
Additional reporting by .
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She Applies Eye Cream Morning And Night
“It’s always a good idea to use an eye cream both AM and PMalthough I also sometimes skip this step when Im in a hurry! Undereye cream is a place where I suggest splurging if you can as wellthe skin is so thin so you want to make sure the product is safe but also effective! I opt for something that is hydrating and helps with the integrity of the skin as ‘dark circles’ may just be the blue tint from the vessels underneath the thin skin.”
Smashbox Photo Finish Reduce Redness Primer
According to Dr. Levy, the Smashbox Photo Finish Reduce Redness Primer makeup with sunscreen contain physical blockers zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are less irritating than chemical blockers.
The company website states that this green-toned face primer color-corrects redness, blurs pores and fine lines while evening out the skin tone. It also contains an antioxidant blend of vitamins A and E to help protect the skin from environmental pollutants, damage, and stress.
It costs $39 on the Smashbox website and costs the same at Sephora and Ulta. Comparatively, it costs $33 on Amazon, where it received 4 out of 5 stars based on 247 customer reviews.
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What Should You Look For In An Eczema Cream
Eczema is a condition in which the skin barrier is not able to maintain the necessary moisture to provide protection from allergens and environmental stressors. People with eczema tend to have dry, irritated, inflamed skin, says Shari Lipner, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine. Choosing the right moisturizer can help in preventing eczema flares and treating the eczema.
The best eczema creams and lotions are thicker moisturizers, Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., double board-certified dermatologist and founder of Mudgil Dermatology, tells SELF.
Its especially important to look for a product that contains humectant ingredients as well as moisturizing and skin-protecting ingredients . Humectants help add additional hydration, while ceramides and occlusive ingredients reinforce the skin barrier, ultimately helping to protect you from irritants that might trigger an eczema flare. Keep an eye out for products with a high oil-content-to-water-content ratio as well, recommends Dr. Lipner.
Of course, there are ingredients youll want to avoid too, Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, tells SELF. Ingredients to watch out for include fragrances, exfoliating acids , and retinol, she says: These can further irritate the skin by drying them out.
Too Much Is Not A Good Thing When It Comes To Using Products To Treat Eczema
Wu warns that there is a limit to how many times you should apply over-the-counter cortisone products to relieve itching. Cortisone creams can cause thinning of the skin if used long term, according to the Mayo Clinic. Talk to your dermatologist about how often you should use a corticosteroid. For example, between flare-ups, you may be advised to use it only two days per week while just using moisturizer on the other days, a report from the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care notes.
Also, you may be frustrated by the scaly flakes of eczema, but resist picking at them. Its best to moisturize rather than try to remove them, says Wu. Scrubbing or peeling off the flakes will likely irritate the skin and cause more itching, according to the National Eczema Society. Plus, you may end up removing new skin thats attached to the scaly flakes, causing bleeding and creating an opening that may allow bacteria to enter, Wu adds.
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A Lightweight Tinted Moisturizer
Dr. Zeichner advises staying away from heavy foundations that may be difficult to remove. Makeup removal can be extremely harsh on the skin and even provoke an eczema flare, he notes. Tinted moisturizers give coverage without cake-iness.
Try: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer . Dr. Marmur recommends this non-comedogenic and dermatologist- and allergy-tested formula that works on all skin types, even sensitive ones.
What Causes Eczema On Your Face
There are different types of eczema, according to the National Eczema Foundation, including ones you might find on your face:
- Atopic dermatitis may show up on the cheeks and come along with asthma and/or hay fever
- Contact dermatitis is associated with a specific allergen, like a harsh detergent or fragrance your body doesnt like
- Seborrheic dermatitis is common on the nose and scalp and linked to a yeast
Experts arent 100 percent sure what causes eczema at its root, but it likely starts with a genetic predisposition and is then triggered by things like cold weather, hot showers, bacteria, stress, yeast, and hormonal changes .
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Proper Skin Care For Eczema Focuses On Hydrating And Soothing While Minimizing Irritation
Hydration is the operative word when putting together an eczema skin-care routine. We know that in eczema the skin barrier is not working the way it should be, so it is important to maintain skin hydration, says Dr. Zeichner.
Soothing is the other operative word. Look for products that are specifically made for sensitive skin, says Wu. These are usually free of fragrance and other ingredients known to aggravate eczema, including lanolin. Skip unscented products, which may contain a masked fragrance and could irritate your skin, and opt for a product labeled dye-free, notes the American Academy of Dermatology.
Also, avoid retinol, vitamin C, and alpha hydroxy or salicylic acids, as these can aggravate eczema, advises Wu. The National Eczema Association, for example, says that while retinol is beneficial for anti-aging, it can trigger eczema flares. One beneficial ingredient to look for is hyaluronic acid, which holds moisture against your skin without being irritating. Past research shows that a hyaluronic acidceramide foam may help improve the symptoms of mild to moderate eczema.
Another note: You can wear makeup if you have eczema just do your best to look for products that are fragrance-free, adds Zeichner.
What Women With Eczema Should Avoid When Shopping For Makeup
According to Dr. Klein, who treats patients with eczema on a daily basis and also does patch testing, women with eczema who want to wear makeup should consider the following factors when it comes to selecting products:
Dr. Elias noted that you should try to avoid acids, fragrances, and parabens, although recent literature from the Contact Derm Society may actually argue against this, with new ingredients used instead of parabens leading to increases in allergic reactions.
Dr. Klein said glycolic acid, salicylic acid, retinol, preservatives , and fragrances all can be irritating and cause reactions in patients prone to eczema.
Additionally, I’ve seen many patients react to MAC cosmetics also Beauty Counter is known for being natural but this doesnt mean that eczema-prone patients won’t react, Dr. Klein warned.
Dr. Klein added that its safe for women with eczema to wear makeup, but please pay attention to ingredients and stick with sensitive skin lines.
In other advice, Dr. Levy advised avoiding heavy stage makeup or any makeup with fragrance, which can be irritating.
Dr. Levy also recommended avoiding alcohol-drying retinol, especially if using another anti-aging medication or prescription acne treatment.
Dr. Levy agreed that its safe with the right products, adding that avoiding alcohol-based products and liberal use of an emollient/moisturizer prior to putting on makeup is helpful.
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Opt For Low Ph Products
As eczema results from a weakened skin barrier, its essential to opt for low pH soaps and face washes, body washes and shampoo/conditioner. pH balanced products support the skins protective barrier function, and ensure it stays balanced so that it can fight bacteria and infection.
The basic rule: anything you put on your skin that is higher or lower than its natural pH will raise or lower the skins pH as well. This is why its best to opt for products that are between a pH 5.5 to 7. For more on the importance of pH balanced products see our previous blog post here.
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Recommended by Dr. Elias, this multipurpose primer conceals redness even rosacea to even skin tone, while minimizing the look of visible pores, fine lines, and imperfections. This oil-free formula also delivers broad-spectrum SPF 15 sun protection with mineral-derived sunscreens, Titanium and Zinc Oxide.
On the companys website, this product costs between $19 to $75 depending on the size, which includes an 8.95ML travel size for $19 a 30ML bottle for $54 and a 60ML jumbo size for $75. Comparatively, the prices are the same at Sephora, where it received 4.3 out of 5 stars based on 5,644 customer reviews.
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Best For Families: Vaseline All Over Balm
Easy to apply to targeted areas
No need to rub in
Can feel greasy on skin
Difficult to use the whole balm stick
Dr. Saedi is a huge fan of Vaseline products, specifically endorsing Vaseline All Over Balm as an effective eczema family treatment. It is great for local areas because the petroleum jelly creates a great barrier to lock in the moisture, she points out. Your average petroleum jelly can be messyespecially with kidsmaking it difficult to target specific areas, thats why I love the balm stick, she maintains.
Active Ingredients: Petroleum | Uses: Targeted protective barrier to lock in moisture
How To Prevent Eczema Flare
Theres no known cure for eczema, and symptoms wont go away on their own. For most people, eczema is a chronic condition that requires careful avoidance of triggers to help prevent flare-ups.
- Moisturize the affected areas at least twice a day. Weve taken the guesswork out of how to stop eczema immediately with an eczema cream.
- Take shorter baths or showers with tepid versus hot water. Pat versus rub your skin dry afterward.
- Try to identify and avoid the aforementioned triggers that can exasperate your condition.
- Only use gentle soaps, cleansers, and body lotions.
- Keep a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, like the bedroom Hot, dry indoor air can parch sensitive skin and worsen itching and flaking. Opt for a portable unit or attach one to your furnace to add moisture to the air inside your home.
- Wear cool, smooth-textured clothing and avoid clothing thats rough, tight, or scratchy. Also, wear appropriate clothing in hot weather or during exercise to prevent excessive sweating. Take a short, tepid shower immediately after physical activity.
- Get a hold of your stress and anxiety. Such emotional disorders can aggravate atopic dermatitis. Try yoga, meditation, exercise, or an activity that brings you pleasure. Speak to a professional if need be.
- See a dermatologist to discuss your treatment options if topical creams and lotions arent working.
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Innisfree Green Tea Moisture
This refreshing watery-gel toner derives its hydrating properties from hydrating Jeju green tea and green tea seed oil. Beauty studies sing praises about the benefits of green tea, ingested or topical, due to the high level of antioxidants that soothe and ward off inflammation. Innisfrees version isnt alcoholic enough to make my face sting simply tap a few drops into your pores right after cleansing for a cooling ahh sensation.
To buy: $17 .
What Causes Eczema
There is no official cause of eczema, but scientists suspect that it is a byproduct of the immune systems reaction to external aggressors. Genetics has its role too. Eczema tends to run in families, so if one or both parents are sufferers, its more likely that their children will develop it too, says Kluk. While one in five children suffer with the condition, stats show that by their teenage years, 60 per cent of early sufferers become clear-skinned. Exposure to allergens and infection with certain bacteria can lead to flare-ups, and there is some evidence to suggest that stress can lower the threshold for a flare-up too, says Kluk. Extremely hot or cold weather, illness, dust and pets can also trigger a resurgence.
What To Look For
1. Shea butter, glycerin, and lanolin. These moisturizing ingredients repair your skin and help it look healthier. Look for skin care products that list one of these first, second, or third on the ingredients list.
2. Hyaluronic acid. It helps draw moisture from the air to your skin. Smooth on cream with hyaluronic acid for an extra boost of moisture and to ease flaky, dry skin.
3. Niacinamide. If red patches show through no matter how many layers of makeup you pile on, try a serum or cream that has this compound, also called vitamin B3. It can reduce redness from eczema by strengthening your skinâs natural barrier. Apply niacinamide cream first, then put on cosmetics.
Avne Soothing Eye Contour Cream
People travel the world to visit Avènes thermal springs in the south of France, known for having minerals that relieve skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. Youll find the thermal water in this eye cream . Whats more, its formulated with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that attracts water to the skin and locks in moisture.
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How Can I Reduce Eczema Scarring
The best way to prevent eczema scarring is to effectively prevent and manage itching in the first place. When the itch is out of control, patients do the most damage. Keeping the skin well moisturized and nails trimmed and smoothed go a long way to reduce the risk of eczema scarring, warns Benjamin.
Nussbaum explains scarring is usually from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or residual redness from inflammation which may hyper- or hypopigment. The most important thing is to maintain a healthy skin barrier by using a gentle cleanser twice daily and moisturizer twice daily without any harsh ingredients, she shares.
Other key ingredients including vitamin C, niacinamide and aloe vera can assist with evening our skin tone, minimizing inflammation, and boosting collagen production. Oatmeal baths for 30 minutes a day can also help remove dead skin cells, calm inflammation and restore hydration while reducing scarring, shares Nussbaum. But, should the scarring be severe, we can certainly use laser resurfacing or other types of lasers to lessen the redness and hyper-pigmentation.
Best Overall: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Forms protective barrier to lock moisture in
Works for scrapes, dry skin, and chapped lips
Doesnt soak into skin, feels sticky
Hard to get off hands after applying
If there is one multitasking skincare product that dermatologists are obsessed with, it is Aquaphor Healing Ointment. Made with 41 percent petroleum, it forms the protective barrier Dr. Saedi was talking about, helping lock moisture in. The addition of glycerin helps prevent dryness from occurring in the first place by attracting water to the skin. Not only is it a great treatment for eczema, you can use it as a body moisturizer, a dry hand treatment, on cracked heels, chapped lips, or even to help heal minor scrapes and cuts.
Active Ingredients: Petrolatum | Uses: Lip moisturizer, hand cream, foot cream, wound care, and eczema lotion.
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