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Tips For Eczema Flare Ups

When Your Skin Becomes A Battlefield

3 professional tips to treat (and cover) eczema flare-ups
  • During a flare-up its vital to rigorously adhere to your treatment plan, especially if insufficient emollient application was a contributing factor to your skins relapse.
  • If being unwell has contributed to the current flare its important to treat the symptoms of that illness at the same time, rather than simply soldiering on, as your body will struggle to overcome both without help.
  • A short burst of treatment with topical steroids will enable most people with eczema to bring a flare-up under control. Key points to remember include:
  • If the eczema gets worse and becomes sore, oozy and crusty then it may have become infected and you should seek medical advice, as it will require additional treatment.
  • Keep a diary of your symptoms and a photographic record to share with healthcare professionals. Flare-ups can vary in severity, appearance and the areas affected so its helpful to chart how yours change over time.
  • Prioritise self care as your body wont heal if its run down. Get plenty of rest and sleep, eat well, drink lots of water, dont take on too much and relax. Its easy to say I cant or I dont have the time but, when your skin needs extra support to get back on track, you have to find a way.
  • Dont feel bad about turning down invites if you cant face it and, equally, dont feel compelled to attend. Make sure those closest to you know what a flare-up is like and what it takes out of you, so they understand why sometimes youll need to duck out of plans.
  • How Long Does It Take An Eczema Flare

    I hate to tell you what you already know, but the timing is different for everyone.

    If you havent determined what causes your eczema to flare yet then treatment will only help temporarily. You will need more research to get to the root cause. If your issues are external it could take a week for one flare-up to go away. However, if your issues are internal then it will only clear just long enough for another flare-up to begin.

    The Impact Stress Has On Your Eczema & How To Ease This Eczema Trigger

    Eczema is a complex skin condition and its often difficult to identify the underlying cause. However, one trigger that seems to persistently recur is stress, with many sufferers recognising emotional stress as a major instigator. Today, I explore this connection and discuss how stress can affect your eczema symptoms, as well as what you can do to minimise its impact!

    Sarah Hyland

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    Why Is Eczema Worse In Cold Weather

    There are different types of eczema, which affect people of all ages. The most common variety is known as atopic dermatitis.

    Atopic dermatitis affects 1 in 10 Americans, causing patches of extremely dry, itchy, inflamed skin. Sometimes it can appear scaly or crusty. Whatever form it takes, the itchy rashes can drive you crazy and even keep you up all night scratching.

    For most people, eczema flares come and go. Several factors team up to make it more common in the cooler months, says dermatologist John Anthony, MD. Cold air, wind and a decrease in humidity can all dry out skin, he says. That loss of moisture can cause eczema to flare.

    What Causes Eczema Flare

    6 Tips to deal with Eczema Flare

    Eczema flare-ups occur when the immune system is overloaded and unable to fight off the things that trigger inflammation for an individual and results in the red, itchy, and dry skin.

    A number of factors can contribute to an eczema flare-up, from environmental factors, to internal stresses and reactions.

    Also Check: Best Products To Get Rid Of Eczema

    Avoid Products With Fragrance

    Image credit: Pexels

    While you may be tempted to get creams with fragrance so that youll smell good after a shower, its an absolute no-no for eczema. While they make products smell more appealing, they do not have much added benefits. Rather, they can cause hypersensitive reactions that make your skin itchy.

    When buying any product to be applied to the skin, look out for fragrances often listed as parfum in the ingredients list. You can check out fragrance-free products from the QV skincare range which dont contain fragrance and colouring, so your skin wont be irritated.

    Lifestyle Changes That Can Relieve Symptoms

    While it can seem that nothing will relieve the discomfort, you can ease symptoms of atopic dermatitis . Here are some easy-to-make changes that dermatologists recommend:

  • Moisturize after bathing and when your skin feels dry. Keeping your skin hydrated helps form a barrier between you and the world. To avoid irritating your skin, use a fragrance-free cream or ointment instead of a lotion.

  • Choose fragrance-free skin care products. Fragrance can cause an AD flare-up. To avoid this, only use products labeled fragrance free. You may see the word unscented on a product label. Avoid these, too. Unscented means that the fragrance has been masked. Although you wont smell the fragrance in an unscented product, a masked fragrance can still trigger a flare-up.

  • Test all skin care products before using them. While fragrance often causes AD to flare, other ingredients in skin care products can also cause a flare-up. To test a product, apply a small amount to skin without AD. Leave it on your skin for 24 hours. If your skin remains clear after 24 hours, its less likely to cause a flare-up.

  • Bathe daily, taking a 5- to 10-minute bath or shower in lukewarm water. A short bath or shower helps hydrate the skin. When you apply your moisturizer within 5 minutes of bathing, this helps to lock in the moisture.

  • Wash clothing in detergent that is fragrance free and dye free. The fragrance and dye can trigger a flare-up.

  • Washing new clothing before you wears it.
  • Related AAD resources

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    Dress Your Bed In Layers Too

    Nighttime is the right time for overheating: Warm pajamas combined with heavy quilts and blankets cause sweating and itching. Wear cotton or silk pajamas, and keep a high-thread 100% cotton or silk sheet close to your skin. Layer up with cotton quilts that can be thrown back when your skin needs a breather, rather than wool blankets that could trigger an scratching spell.

    What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Eczema

    How To Prevent Eczema Flare-Ups
    • How can you tell that I have eczema?
    • If I dont have eczema, what other skin condition might I have?
    • Is there a specific brand of moisturizer that you recommend?
    • Is there a prescription cream that you can prescribe?
    • How often should I see a dermatologist regarding my eczema?
    • What soaps, lotions, makeup, etc. should I avoid?
    • What medications do you recommend?
    • What at-home treatments do you recommend?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Eczema is very normal, very common, and very, very uncomfortable. It can affect your quality of life. At its worse it can keep you from sleeping, distract you and make you feel self-conscious in public. See your dermatologist or other healthcare provider as soon as you start to see signs of it. Explore at-home remedies and prescribed treatments.

    Youre not alone! 15% to 20% of people experience eczema or another type of dermatitis at some point in their lives.

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    Also Check: What Is Eczema And What Causes It

    How To Use Emollients

    Use your emollient all the time, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms.

    Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school, or a tub in the bathroom and one in a living area.

    To apply the emollient:

    • use a large amount
    • do not rub it in smooth it into the skin in the same direction the hair grows
    • after a bath or shower, gently pat the skin dry and apply the emollient while the skin is still moist to keep the moisture in

    You should use an emollient at least twice a day if you can, or more often if you have very dry skin.

    During a flare-up, apply generous amounts of emollient more frequently, but remember to treat inflamed skin with a topical corticosteroid as emollients used on their own are not enough to control it.

    Do not put your fingers into an emollient pot use a spoon or pump dispenser instead, as this reduces the risk of infection. And never share your emollient with other people.

    When To See Your Doctor

    Contact your doctor if eczema symptoms are serious enough to interfere with sleep and daily life or if they persist after home treatments. See your doctor right away about a skin infection, especially if you also have a fever. Red streaks, yellow scabs, and pus could all be signs of infection.

    Show Sources

    Mayo Clinic: Atopic dermatitis : âAlternative medicine,â âCauses,â âLifestyle and home remedies,â âRisk factors,â âTreatments and drugs.â

    American Academy of Dermatology: âDifferent kinds of eczema,â âWhat is eczema?â

    National Eczema Society: âTopical Steroids,â âWhat is Eczema?â

    National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: âWhat Is Atopic Dermatitis?â

    American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: âAntihistamines,â âEczema.â

    National Eczema Association: âItching for relief.â

    British Journal of Dermatology: âThe effect of environmental tobacco smoke on eczema and allergic sensitization in children.â

    FDA: âFDA approves new eczema drug Dupixent.â

    Mayo Clinic: âAtopic dermatitis .â

    The National Eczema Association: âEczema Causes and Triggers.â

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    Choose A Physical Sunscreen

    Bard says choosing a physical sunscreen versus a chemical one is the best option for people with eczema. Some chemical sunscreens can be irritating to sensitive skin, she says. According to Piedmont Healthcare, physical sunscreens are also more moisturizing. Look for the words physical or mineral on the bottle and ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

    Avoid Laundry Detergents With Fragrances

    How to prevent eczema flare ups: 5 tips for winter skin ...

    Although fragrances smell good, our skin is sensitive to the chemical irritants, and our body reacts by having a flare-up. That’s why Gohara recommends using a laundry detergent without fragrances, like All Free Clear.

    Laundry detergents free of fragrances don’t have chemicals that will irritate the skin, so using this type of detergent will lower your odds of getting a flare-up.

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    What Causes Winter Eczema Symptoms

    During the winter, the main causes of eczema are transepidermal water loss, or dehydration of skin cells, and a compromised skin barrier from lack of skin lipids. But why exactly does eczema act up in the winter? It has a lot to do with falling outdoor humidity levels, the air getting colder and drier, and indoor heating. These all come together to make your skin much drier, Debra Jaliman, M.D., board-certified dermatologist in New York City and assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF.

    There are many different types of eczema, and a dermatologist can diagnose which specific type you are experiencing. The most well-known is atopic dermatitis, which experts refer to as classic eczema because it can make skin super dry, itchy, and inflamed. Atopic dermatitis can also present as small bumps filled with fluid that break when scratchedleading to painful infections.

    Shasa Hu, M.D., dermatologist at the University of Miami Health System, tells SELF she sees many people come into the office during the cold winter months with a special type of eczema called asteatotic eczema. Asteatotic eczema gives a scale-like appearance to the skinmost commonly on the lower legswhich makes it look rough and ashy. In more severe cases, Dr. Hu says, people can have itchy, inflamed areas where the skin surface is broken, giving the skin a cracked look similar to cracked porcelain. .

    How Do You Cope With An Eczema Flare Up

    10/02/2012 by Ruth Holroyd

    Over the years you learn to cope with eczema. You know youll never be quite free but once you can get a handle on keeping your skin moisturised and avoiding the things that trigger flare ups it gets easier.

    Some people do grow out of it but sadly that is not the fate for all of us. Some people have cyclical flare ups which seems to be the route Im taking. I have no idea what happens to trigger the flare up. It isnt always bad diet, late nights and over indulging, as you might imagine. Sometimes its just time. Its time your skin gave you a good kicking.

    It seems very hard to stay organised. Steriods are no longer left on your repeat prescription. You can only get them now if you visit your doctor or phone up to request them, and you need a good reason. It isnt good enough just to say youve run out and would like to stock up your first aid box in case of a flare up. Oh no! You must now wait until such time as you really need it, but perhaps not wait quite as long as I do.

    Its not nice. Its painful, frustrating and stressful. I get by on a concoction of pain killers, antihistamines, vitamins and minerals and omega oil supplements in the vain hope that my skin will realise its getting some goodness. I drink plenty of water and try to get plenty of sleep, keep the eczema clean and moisturised but sometimes it decides its here to stay for longer than I planned for!

    Also Check: How To Help Eczema At Home

    Hydrate Stay Cool And Avoid Sweating

    As obvious as it might seem, it is essential to drink enough water during the summer. Essentially, this will keep you hydrated while at the same time cooling your body. With a skin condition such as eczema, it is important to avoid sweating. This could be pretty difficult with the summer heat.However, you can minimize the rate of your sweating by staying in cool places. Typically, you will want to avoid excessively warm temperatures. You can achieve this by staying in shaded areas or indoors where the environment is air-conditioned. Additionally, go for loose-fitting apparel that has breathable fabric.

    Try A Thick Moisturizer


    If you have eczema, your skin requires a lot of moisturizing. Use thick moisturizers and apply them immediately after bathing or showering. Petroleum jelly is a good option. Lotions may not be as effective at treating winter eczema.

    For painful, itchy flare-ups, you may also use a cream containing hydrocortisone or hydrocortisone acetate. You should talk to your doctor before using hydrocortisone or hydrocortisone acetate cream, though. Your doctor may also prescribe something stronger to curb your flare-up.

    Make sure to moisturize your skin more than once per day.

    Read Also: Best Lotion For Toddler Eczema

    Apply A Cool Compress

    When youre in the throes of an eczema flare-up, managing the itch to prevent scratching is essential. Applying a cool compress to your skin can help.

    A cool compress sounds fancy, but it can be as simple as using a washcloth soaked in cool water. Wring it out until its damp, and then gently lay the washcloth on affected areas of skin.

    How To Prevent Eczema Flare

    The best way to prevent eczema flare-ups is to become familiar with your personal triggers so you can avoid any products, foods, or conditions that may cause eczema symptoms to flare up.

    Some general tips include using mild, unscented soaps and developing a consistent bathing and moisturizing schedule.

    Use moisturizers that work for you, especially on eczema-prone skin and areas of the body. For best results for long-term eczema, be sure to always use medications as prescribed.

    When the weather changes and the air becomes more dry and cold, it can also be helpful to wear gloves to keep skin moisturized and prevent flare-ups.

    Another good way to combat eczema flare-ups is to address stress, which is a common trigger.

    Some wellness practices and systems, including yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation, have been shown to help manage emotional stress, as well as the nervous system in general.

    Acupressure and massage can also help relieve symptoms and keep the general nervous system in check and inflammation at bay.

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    Avoid Hot Baths And Showers

    Taking a steaming shower or soaking in a hot bath might feel good at the time, but hot water can contribute to drier skin, and it can make eczema flare-ups worse.

    Bathe and wash your hands in warm not hot water all year. And, if youre particularly cold, try to wait to wash until your skin has warmed. Washing your hands or showering in warm water when your skin is cold could irritate your skin.

    Develop A Relationship With A Medical Provider

    Seven ways to prevent eczema flare

    When youre living with eczema, its important to realize that youre not alone. By developing a long-term relationship with an experienced dermatologist that you trust, you can learn to take proper steps to control your symptoms and reduce the severity of your condition.

    In addition to helping you identify your triggers and developing a skin care regimen to manage your eczema, Dr. Hitchins also provides therapies, like antihistamines, antibiotics, and prescription lotions, ointment, and creams. She also offers immunosuppressant and topical immunomodulators for difficult-to-treat eczema cases.

    To learn more about preventing eczema flare-ups, call us at Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston or schedule an appointment online today.

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    Avoid Rapid Temperature Changes

    When the skin is experiencing big changes in temperature, it starts to dry and feel itchy.

    In winter, our skin keeps jumping back and forth between temperature extremes. This cycle of moving from the cold air outside to the warm and dry air indoors can make the skin dry and cracked.

    People can reduce eczema flare-ups by avoiding abrupt changes in temperature. Wear gloves, scarves, and hats when outside to stop the skin from getting cold.

    Transition slowly between temperatures by using the following strategies:

    • Try not to let your skin get cold. People can maintain a more even body temperature by staying inside when possible. Wrap up well when going outside.
    • Protect sensitive areas from rapid temperature changes. If you tend to get eczema on your hands, wear gloves every time you go outside.
    • Avoid hot water when you are cold. When you come in from the cold, it may be tempting to wash your hands in very warm water, but the quick change in temperature can irritate the skin. Wait until you have warmed up before using warm water.
    • Avoid hot showers. After a hot shower, the body cools down quickly again. You can avoid changing the skins temperature too often by not having hot showers when you bathe every day, and always moisturize right after washing.


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