Tips For Applying Your Eczema Cream
Dr. Anthony shares some of the key steps in applying your eczema products of choice.
Skincare Ingredients To Avoid If You Have Eczema According To Dermatologists
The epidermis is the largest and perhaps one of the most fundamental organs of our body. Not only is it a protective guardian against harmful bacteria strains like Staphylococcus aureus, its also a faithful gatekeeper, allowing oxygen, moisture and other nourishing elements in.
People with eczema need to be especially mindful of what theyre putting on their skin to keep it healthy and safe, while also knowing which things to avoid so as not to trigger inflammation and flare-ups. We asked two dermatologists to share top skincare ingredients to avoid if you are living with eczema or caring for a child with the condition.
Peter Lio, MD, assistant professor of clinical dermatology and pediatrics dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and founding director of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Center, and Jeff Yu, MD, a dermatologist specializing in allergic contact dermatitis and occupational dermatitis in adults and children at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, offer the following advice:
Most Common Fragrance Irritants
Finding cleansers and moisturizers without scent isnt as easy as it should be: Even those labeled unscented or fragrance-free sometimes still contain a masking fragrance, says Dr. Fusco. This is used to cover up unwanted natural odors from herbal or botanical ingredients and can itself cause a skin reaction. Its important to check labels for common fragrance ingredients as opposed to just the term fragrance mix, says Dr. Garshick. Beware these six, which might contain fragrance: cinnamic alcohol, cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol, isoeugenol , geraniol , hydroxycitronellal, and oakmoss.
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Understanding Good And Bad Soap Ingredients For Eczema
Derived from reacting fatty acids with a strong alkaline solution which produces a chemical reaction known as saponification, soaps are a great medium in cleansing our body. Different kinds of soap can be made depending on the type of solution used during chemical process. Sodium soaps, which are hard and firm, are produced from sodium hydroxide while liquid soaps come from the reaction of potassium hy-drox-ide.
When applied to your skin, both types of soap dissolves natural insoluble particles in your skin that is easily washed away during rinsing. This is best exhibited when soap cleanses your skin with excess oil that might be contaminated with dirt and dust particles.
How To Prevent Eczema From The Inside Out
Here are two ways to treat your eczema naturally:
12-week low chemical diet
The Eczema Detox is a healthy low chemical diet that is low in sugar and totally free of glutamates/MSG, preservatives/additives and dairy. It also has plenty of gluten-free and vegan options.
The Eczema Detox, which was published in 2018 and is the new version of The Eczema Diet, also shows you how to successfully diagnose food intolerances and chemical intolerances , so you know what to avoid and what to eat to become eczema free.
Skin friendly supplements
There are a range of nutrients to help prevent chemical sensitivity and repair eczema-prone skin, including magnesium, molybdenum, zinc, biotin, vitamin B6 and a range of vitamins to deactivate salicylates and other itch-promoting chemicals. Molybdenum deactivates sulphite preservatives and amines anti-histamine vitamin C and vitamin B6 to help reduce allergic reactions .
But it’s also what you avoid that can make a difference… Supplements usually contain hidden additives that can cause adverse reactions if you are a sensitive type of person that is prone to eczema.
Skin Friend AM is the supplement I created to prevent my daughter’s eczema more than fifteen years ago. It took years of testing before I felt confident that it could help others, and I worked with hundreds of eczema patients who tried the product and provided feedback for years before this product was manufactured in bulk and sold online.
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Sensitive Skin Product Series What Ingredient To Avoid
- Post author
I met Laura Verallo Rowell Bertotto, the CEO of VMVGroup, on twitter and learnt that her company is the only hypoallergenic brand that validates its hypoallergenicity.
VMV Hypoallergenics is founded in 1979 by Dr. Vermén Verallo-Rowell who is a world renowned dermatologist, dermatopathologist and dermatology/laser surgeon, also an author, esteemed researcher and speaker.
Foods That Can Trigger Flare
Before sharing her list on Eczema Life, Fischer notes that every person reacts differently. One of the food triggers could cause a bout of itching in one person, yet leave another entirely fine. Tune into your body’s signals to take note of particular ingredients you begin to associate with setting off your skin’s discomfort. Keeping a food journal could help you identify areas of your diet that could use a tweak.
Perry adds, “Potential food triggers for one person may differ for another person and it can be very individualized. There could be food exacerbated eczema in which ingestion of certain foods may cause flare ups. Consult with a health care provider or allergist to inquire about food allergy testing or if a food is an intolerance or causing flare ups. Elimination diets should be used with caution to prevent any nutritional deficiencies.” She recommends to avoid highly processed foods like potato chips, foods high in sugar like cookies and candy bars, as well as fried foods that are rich in trans fat since these can promote inflammation in the body.
Avocado: If eczema is a problem for you, you may want to hold off on that avocado toast. “While avocado is a healthy addition to your diet when you don’t have eczema, avocado is one of the richest sources of amines and itch-promoting salicylates,” says Fischer.
Dried fruit: This snack hosts a range of “problematic chemicals,” says Fischer, including salicylates, amines, MSG, and sulfites.
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Swap Skin Care Products For Manuka Honey
Skin care products that contain chemicals can cause eczema to flare up. Avoid products with ingredients like sodium lauryl sulphate, talc, lanolin, propylene glycol, phthalates or any other substance that you react to.
Manuka honey, can be a helpful alternative because it naturally contains antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties so can help support the immune system. You can either eat a small amount each day or apply topically.
/9foods To Eat When Suffering From Eczema
– Anti-inflammatory foods: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are the most effective anti-inflammatory sources. Fish like salmon and mackerel, and cod liver oil contain good amounts of omega-3 fats that reduce inflammation.
– Probiotics: Probiotic foods like yogurt and kefir contain live bacteria that help in strengthening the immune system that may help in reducing inflammation or flare-ups.
– Foods rich in quercetin: Quercetin is a plant based flavonoid that is a powerful antioxidant and antihistamine. It helps in reducing inflammation and histamine in the body, which prevents flare-ups. Foods like green leafy vegetables, peppers, onions, and apples are rich sources of quercetin.
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What To Look For In An Eczema Cream
Hydration makes for happy skin. If you have eczema, its extremely important to keep your skin hydrated, Dr. Anthony says.
In looking for an eczema product, there are three categories of ingredients to know about:
You see all three of them in some of the products we use for eczema, Dr. Anthony explains. And some popular ingredients pull double duty, acting, for example, as both humectant and occlusive, or emollient and occlusive, which can make things confusing.
He walks us through the categories, including ingredients to look for.
Preservatives Methylchloroisothiazolinone And Methylisothiazolinone
While MCI and MI can help preserve a product, they dont always preserve the health of your skin. These ingredients are added to many cosmetic and personal care itemsincluding baby products, skin-care creams, and makeupto thwart the growth of fungi and bacteria and to prevent the breakdown of the product itself. Common side effects include redness, itchiness, or flakiness on the area where you’ve applied the product or even on other zones of the body. If you are a new parent and notice irritation on your hands, check the baby wipes youre usingit may be time to try something new.
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Do Any Specific Diet Plans Work For Eczema
The important thing to note about your diet and eczema is that there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all blueprint. “Maintaining an overall healthy diet can aid in reducing inflammation. Minimize highly processed foods and focus on eating more whole foods, says Perry. However, if you are looking for a specific diet to try, Perry recommends the Mediterranean diet. “The Mediterranean diet consists of whole fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of antioxidants and foods high in omega-3 fats, such as salmon and walnuts, which may aid in anti-inflammation. Diet may influence the inflammation associated with eczema flare-ups so it can be helpful to eat more anti-inflammatory foods and monitor any food triggers,” she explains.
Occlusives Lock In The Good Stuff
Occlusives are like a sealant, keeping moisture and hydration where they belong in your skin. Without an occlusive, some of that goodness is lost to evaporation. But adding an occlusive on top seals the deal by literally sealing hydration and moisture into place.
Occlusive ingredients good for eczema include:
- Coconut oil.
- Petrolatum .
- Silicone derivatives, like dimethicone.
Vaseline®, which is made of petroleum jelly, is both an emollient and an occlusive. For the most part, its safe to use on eczema. But like other occlusives, petroleum jelly alone wont moisturize your skin.
You have to get the moisture in there first, whether from other ingredients or from water, and then seal it in with a topcoat, Dr. Anthony explains. Thats what we call occlusive therapy.
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Balance Your Vitamin Intake
Ensuring you have a good balance of vitamins, minerals and flavonoids in your diet can help your skin’s condition. The following vitamins and minerals are particularly relevant for eczema:
- Zinc: Found in seafood, pumpkin seeds, dark choc, lean red meat
- Vitamin C: Found in brightly coloured fruit, veg, and rosehip.
- Vitamin E: Found in sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, avocado and dried apricots
- Vitamin D: Is best absorbed from sunlight in the summer months. You can also supplement with a vitamin D spray through the winter months.
Emerging research suggests that flavonoids can help to rebalance the immune system and have been found to be beneficial for people with eczema. They have many health benefits but in this instance they appear to help by reducing histamine release and boosting the skin’s ability to fight infection. Research on this area has focused on many different flavonoids but quercetin appears to be especially effective.
Nutritional supplements can be very useful. Always seek advice as there can be nutrient interactions between supplements and medication as well as warnings for certain health conditions and symptoms.
First published on Thursday 18 February 2016
Special Diets For Contact Eczema
Contact eczema is a specific type of eczema in which localized skin reactions arise from direct contact with something in the environment, including allergens such as pollen, nickel, and latex.
Some allergens may also be present in food in particular balsam of Peru and nickel and research suggests that avoiding foods that contain these allergens can relieve contact eczema symptoms, according to an article published in March 2014 in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.
Balsam of Peru comes from the tree Myroxylon balsamum pereirae and contains a mixture of potential allergens, such as cinnamates and vanillin, chemicals commonly found in flavorings, spices, and certain foods.
If you have a contact eczema related to balsam of Peru, you may find some eczema relief by avoiding:
- Citrus fruits
Nickel is the most common cause of metal allergies and causes more cases of contact eczema than all other metals. Scientists dont fully understand why, but it could be due to sweat leaching nickel from earrings and other jewelry. The nickel then absorbs into skin, causing a rash.
Its also found in a wide range of foods, including grains, shellfish, processed meats, canned food, black tea, nuts, and seeds. Vegetables with especially high nickel content include beans, lentils, peas, and soybeans.
Research suggests that a low-nickel diet may improve dermatological symptoms in people with nickel-related contact eczema.
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What About Other Ingredients The Ones With Long Complicated Chemistry Lesson Names
Propylene glycol? Cetyl alcohol? Hydroxybenzoates? Sodium Hydroxide? Dimethicone? Phenoxyethanol? Polyethylene glycol ? Synthetic urea? Well, some of these are classified as safe for use topically, but may not be tolerated by everyone. Some, like Phenoxyethanol, are well known skin irritants and should definitely be avoided. Sodium Hydroxide, for example, is better known as caustic soda and yet is used in one of the UKs most popular emollient creams. Some are classified as potential environmental toxins or not safe to be ingested. Many synthetic ingredients can cause damage to the skin barrier by stripping away the skins natural oils.
Some, on the other hand, like Glyceryl Caprylate, look like theyre paint strippers but turn out to be gentle, coconut-derived fatty acids. And others, like some essential oils, seem lovely and natural but can cause inflammation and irritation to even robust skin!
Its all highly confusing! Our advice would be to educate yourself on what does and does not work for you and your very particular skin. If you know that your skin barrier function is impaired, that even mild cosmetic products bring you out in hives, that your skin is delicate and needs extra tender care, then it might be best to avoid anything you dont know for sure wont damage it further, even if its included in an emollient specially meant for eczema. And always, ALWAYS, do a patch test.
*In a survey of over 500 people
Find out more on Eczema
Avoiding And Recognizing Triggers
Eczema can get worse when you come in contact with irritants or triggers. One part of a good skin care routine should be taking active steps to avoid contact with known triggers.
If you dont know what triggers you have, you may want to keep a journal to help you determine the possible cause of your flares. This way, you can potentially avoid them in the future.
Also, keep in mind that not all triggers come from chemicals or irritants.
For example, the National Eczema Association states that cold, dry air can trigger an eczema flare. During the winter, you may need to change your routine a bit to help keep your skin protected.
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Astringents And Drying Agents
With sensitive skin, theres no reason to add salt to the woundespecially if you have eczema. Stay away from anything that is an astringent or drying, like anything that contains alcohol, alpha-hydroxy acids , and anything in the retinoid family, suggests Somerville. AHAs are most often labeled as glycolic acid and can be found mostly in anti-aging products, chemical peels, or fruit-derived scrubs. Salicylic acid, which is the only beta-hyrdoxy acid , may also aggravate already sensitive and dry skinso thats another ingredient to watch out for. And note, for psoriasis, some studies have shown that salicylic acid can be beneficial in slowing down the rapid reproduction of skin cells, resulting in less scaliness and fewer breakouts.
Take Probiotics For Healthy Digestion
The health of the digestive tract can have an effect on eczema sufferers by supporting your immune system. The development of a healthy immune system depends on having a diverse range of bacteria in the gut from birth and specific strains of probiotics have been found particularly helpful for building a strong immune system, these include Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species.
Pregnant women with eczema in the family might be interested in the Swansea baby trial, which found that when a probiotic blend was given to mothers during pregnancy and again to the babies after birth there was a 57 percent reduction in the development of eczema and 44 percent reduction in allergies.
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Avoid These Ingredients That Irritate Eczema:
Chemical exfoliators: AHAs or BHAs
- Glycolic acid
- Textured cleansers
- Sulfates are a chemical cleaning agent found in soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, laundry detergents and more. Sulfates can cause skin to become dry, itchy and irritated making them even worse for those who experience eczema. Essentially, they clean skin, hair and clothes so wel by stripping them of natural moisture and oils. Although sulfates are extremely common in shampoos, body washes and more, there are options that are completely sulfate-free and gentler on skin with eczema like this sulfate-free shampoo and this sulfate-free, fragrance free body wash.
- Preservatives are used to keep cosmetics fresh and prevent them from growing bacteria. But chemical preservatives are irritating to sensitive skin, especially for those dealing with eczema. Instead, choose products that use plant-based preservatives. Nurture My Bodys products use no parabens/chemical preservatives, and are mixed in small batches to ensure optimal freshness.
- Phthalates are similar to parabens, a chemical preservative, and can be identified by many different names. They help fragrance in cosmetics last longer, but if you have eczema, you probably already know to avoid fragrance which brings me to my next point.