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What To Do When Your Eczema Flares Up

Skin Care For Facial Eczema

How To Prevent Eczema Flare-Ups

Moisturize. The best way to keep your skin from drying out is with thick creams and ointments , not with thinner lotions. The best time to do this is right after you wash your face. If ointments are too greasy for your face, try using them only at night.

Clean gently. Soap can irritate your skin, but washing with water alone may not be enough, especially if your face is oily. Use a gentle non-soap cleanser or a medical emollient instead. Pat dry with a soft towel.

Watch the temperature. Use only cool — not hot — water on your face, and for as little time as possible.

Skip makeup.Donât use cosmetics on irritated skin.

Getting An Initial Consultation

When you come in for your initial meeting, Dr. Jurzyk will carefully examine your skin and discuss all of your symptoms. He will also ask you about the activities that you were engaging in before your flare-up began.

In addition to discussing these activities, you should be prepared to talk about any detergents, skincare products, and supplements that you have recently started using. Talking about these substances will help Dr. Jurzyk identify triggers that are causing you to experience skin issues.

Boost Your Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D functions as both a hormone and vitamin within the body, and low or deficient levels can cause both disease development and flare-ups. Note: Boosting levels with supplementation should only be done under the guidance of a practitioner, since toxicity is possible. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is stored in fat, so when excess is consumed via supplements, the body cant simply eliminate it. While vitamin D toxicity is rare, it can have serious side effects, so its essential to have your levels tested and supplement dosage managed by a qualified practitioner.

Read Also: Best Laundry Detergent For Babies With Eczema

Food Allergy And Eczema Flare

  • Food allergies are a factor in 30% of young children with severe eczema. This factor is mainly seen in babies.
  • The main allergic foods are cow’s milk and eggs.
  • The main symptoms are increased skin redness and itching. Some parents report these symptoms start during or soon after the feeding.
  • The eczema becomes easier to control if you avoid the allergic food.

Use Astragalus To Support Natural Immunity


Supporting immune function when you have an autoimmune disease is tricky. Since your immune system is already in overdrive against your own body, you dont exactly want to bolster its energy to continue attacking you with increased fervor.

What you do want to do is modulate the immune system, which means help re-educate it about what it is supposed to be doing: sparing your own body tissues and attacking foreign invaders like viral and bacterial infections.

You can naturally modulate your immune system with certain herbs like astragalus, which activates only specific aspects of the immune system. It provides a balancing effect on the immune system instead of just a stimulating effect like echinacea or goldenseal, herbs which should be avoided in cases of autoimmunity. You can find astragalus supplements online or at your local health food store. Most health practitioners suggest taking them for only a set amount of time , so ask your doctor for the time period that might work best for you.

Read Also: Will My Baby’s Eczema Go Away

Get A Massage Or Try Physical Therapy

For people with pain-driven autoimmunity, the natural instinct is to lie down or sit more. However, gentle physical therapy, foam rolling, or therapeutic massage can help to stimulate blood flow to tissues, which can lead to decreased inflammation and nerve function.

When you regularly engage in massage or physical therapy, it can even lead to reduced flares.

How To Use Topical Corticosteroids

Do not be afraid to apply the treatment to affected areas to control your eczema.

Unless instructed otherwise by a doctor, follow the directions on the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.

This will give details of how much to apply.

Most people only have to apply it once a day as there’s no evidence there’s any benefit to applying it more often.

When using a topical corticosteroid:

  • apply your emollient first and ideally wait around 30 minutes until the emollient has soaked into your skin, or apply the corticosteroid at a different time of day
  • apply the recommended amount of the topical corticosteroid to the affected area
  • continue to use it until 48 hours after the flare-up has cleared so the inflammation under the skin surface is treated

Occasionally, your doctor may suggest using a topical corticosteroid less frequently, but over a longer period of time. This is designed to help prevent flare-ups.

This is sometimes called weekend treatment, where a person who has already gained control of their eczema uses the topical corticosteroid every weekend on the trouble sites to prevent them becoming active again.

Read Also: Best Over The Counter Treatment For Dyshidrotic Eczema

Without Further Ado Heres Tracys Story:

I was diagnosed with eczema at 6 months of age and I just turned 42 years old. Needless to say I have an extensive history of eczema. I am first and foremost a woman, a wife, a mother, and a nurse. I have been a Registered Nurse since 1997 and specialize in Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics.

The eczema I had was typical it flared during the winter months and gave me mostly dry patches on the inside of my elbows, behind knees, and on my neck. And then there was the ITCH! Rubbing, slapping, and other alternatives to scratching just never worked. At the age of 10 or 11 my mother took me to an allergist.

Here is Tracys skin on a strict diet and minimal steroids

We asked what can cause eczema to flare up? I remember him telling her that I needed to go on an elimination diet. He said it was crucial in identifying my triggers. Unfortunately, my mother found it too stressful to cook food separate from the rest of the family so I never found out what all my triggers were. My allergist said it was almost impossible to figure out what was triggering my eczema without going off almost all food and then re-introducing one food at a time.

As a child, I wanted so desperately to stop itching. I was also beginning to become embarrassed by my eczema. That is when my mother took me to a dermatologist and he said my eczema was severe enough to warrant a tube of steroid cream. My skin quickly cleared up within a week.

Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations

How To Prevent Eczema Flare-Ups

If your childâs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.

  • What You Should Know About Eczema:
  • Eczema is a chronic skin disease. So, you need to learn how to control it.
  • Itching attacks are to be expected.
  • The goal is to treat all flare-ups quickly. Reason: To prevent skin damage.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
  • Treatment is Based on Severity of Eczema:
  • Mild Eczema. Just need to use a moisturizing cream and to avoid flare-up triggers.
  • Moderate Eczema. Also need to use a steroid cream and bedtime allergy medicine.
  • Severe Eczema. Also may need antibiotics for a skin infection caused by Staph bacteria. This infection starts in open skin from severe itching.
  • Moisturizing Cream or Ointment for Dry Skin:
  • All children with eczema have dry sensitive skin.
  • The skin needs a moisturizing cream Apply once or twice daily.
  • Apply the cream after a 5 or 10-minute bath. To trap moisture in the skin, apply the cream while skin is still damp. Do this within 3 minutes of leaving the bath or shower.
  • The steroid cream should be applied to any itchy spots first. Then use the moisturizing cream as the top layer.
  • While most parents prefer creams, moisturizing ointments are sometimes needed in the winter. An example is Vaseline.
  • Caution: Never stop the moisturizing cream. Reason: The rash will come back.
  • Steroid Cream or Ointment for Itching:
  • Itchy skin is the main symptom of eczema.
  • Steroid creams or ointments are essential for controlling red, itchy skin.
  • Bathing – Avoid Soaps:
  • Recommended Reading: Can Bed Bugs Cause Eczema

    When Does This Skin Issue Usually Develop

    Its common to develop this skin problem as a baby or a child. In fact, many people develop atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema, when they are children. That said, people can develop this skin problem at any point in their lives, and many adults will begin to have skin issues at later stages in their development.

    Eczema Coping Tips Reducing Skin Irritation

    People with eczema have sensitive skin. Irritants such as heat or detergents can easily trigger a bout of eczema.Suggestions for reducing skin irritation include:

    • Avoid overheating your skin. Wear several layers of clothing that you can remove, as required, instead of one heavy layer. Dont put too many blankets on your bed and avoid doonas.
    • Dont use perfumed bubble bath or bath products labelled medicated.
    • Wear soft, smooth materials next to your skin, preferably 100% cotton. Avoid scratchy materials, such as pure wool, polyester or acrylic. You could try a cotton and synthetic mix material this is fine for some people with eczema. Remove labels from clothing.
    • Always wear protective gloves when using any type of chemical or detergent. You may want to wear cotton gloves inside rubber or PVC gloves.
    • Avoid chlorinated pools. If you have to swim in a chlorinated pool, moisturise your skin well when you get out.

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    Moisturize Your Skin Regularly

    Because constant scratching tends to break down and damage the protective layer of your skin, its important to moisturize twice daily even when youre not having a flare-up.

    Talk to your dermatologist about the best type of over-the-counter emollient for your skin. Be sure to select unscented options.

    Other skin care tips:

    • Ask your doctor which skin cleansers are best.
    • Keep your skin as clean as possible to avoid Staph infection.
    • Avoid taking bubble baths or using scented bath salts.
    • When you do bathe, use lukewarm water.
    • Moisturize within 3 minutes of exiting the bathtub or shower.

    Ice Packs Are Your New Best Friends

    What To Do When Your Eczema Flares Up

    Ice can come in handy in soothing a really bad flare-up. Ice therapy works by applying an ice pack to your flaring skin to numb the area, contracting your veins and cutting down blood circulation. This method helps eliminate the itching and feels wonderful on burning-hot skin. It should be noted: Ice or ice packs should not go directly onto the skin. Make sure to wrap a towel or piece of cloth around it first.

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    What Else Should I Know

    If you live with eczema, tune in to what triggers it and how to manage it. For example, if you find that some types of makeup irritate your skin, ask a dermatologist to recommend brands that are less likely to do so.

    Your self-esteem doesn’t have to suffer because you have eczema, and neither does your social life! Getting involved in your school and extracurricular activities can be a great way to get your mind off the itch.

    Don’t forget to exercise. It’s a great way to blow off stress try walking, bike riding, swimming, or another sport that keeps your skin cool and dry while you work out.

    Recognize The Importance Of A Proper Bathing Routine

    When you have eczema, its common to have dry skin. But regular moisturizing isnt the only way to keep your skin properly hydrated regular bathing can also control flare-ups.

    Proper bathing routines that help manage eczema include:

    • Bathing or showering daily
    • Using lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes
    • Avoiding hot water and scrubbing
    • Using only small amounts of gentle cleanser
    • Moisturizing each time you come in contact with water, even when washing your hands

    Dr. Hitchins can offer recommendations on bath cleansers to leave you clean and fresh without causing skin irritation.

    Read Also: What To Use For Eczema Around Eyes

    Avoid Environmental And Emotional Triggers

    Eczema flare-ups can be brought on by environmental and emotional triggers. Make note of when your eczema symptoms start to appear. Do symptoms usually increase during the Spring and Fall when seasonal allergies are at their peak? Are there certain fabric materials that make you itch?

    Self-knowledge and awareness will help you identify your own set of triggers so you can avoid them, if possible.

    How Is Eczema Treated

    How to handle eczema flare-up (My 4 step checklist to clear skin)

    If you’re diagnosed with eczema, your doctor might:

    • prescribe medicines to put on the skin that soothe the redness and irritation, such as creams or ointments that contain corticosteroids
    • recommend other medicines to take by mouth if the eczema is really bad or you get it a lot

    If someone has severe eczema, ultraviolet light therapy can help clear up the condition. Newer medicines that change the way the skin’s immune system reacts also may help.

    Read Also: How To Take Care Of Baby Eczema

    Tips For Preventing An Eczema Flare

    Eczema is a general term that refers to several health conditions that lead to irritated, inflamed, and itchy skin. While eczema is most common in children and babies, anyone can develop this condition, even if youve never had signs of it in the past.

    The most common symptoms of eczema include:

    • Intense itching
    • Redness, inflammation, and areas of swelling
    • Leathery, roughened, or scaly patches
    • Discolored or dark patches of skin

    Eczema symptoms can vary in severity from mild to severe, and its possible to experience multiple symptoms at once. Some individuals have a single flare-up, while others struggle with uncomfortable symptoms throughout their entire lives.

    Theres no cure for this common condition, but Dr. Lisa Hitchins at Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston offers personalized eczema treatment. This October, in honor of Eczema Awareness Month, Dr. Hitchins shares five tips for avoiding eczema flare-ups.

    How To Prevent And Treat An Eczema Flare

    Of course, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to a flare-up, but it happens. While a flare-up is never ideal and certainly can be sore, it’s not all bad news. There are ways you can manage your eczema, and the even better news is that the simpler the better when it comes to treatment.

    “When eczema is flared, pare back to simple skin care,” said Dr. Wong. First, cut out all soaps and fragrances this is to make sure the skin isn’t exposed to further irritation and make sure it’s not stripped of its natural oils. Dr Wong also advises not to use plant or natural oils, as these aren’t as effective as moisturizers for eczema and may potentially trigger further sensitivity.

    Instead, be prepared to moisturize a lot using specially formulated creams. “It’s not uncommon that during a severe flare-up involving a large surface area of the body, your skin will require 500g of moisturizer every one to weeks,” explained Dr. Wong. This means it’s essential to top up on moisturizer throughout the day and pay close attention to particularly flared areas of the skin. It’s also important to stay hydrated, so make sure you’re drinking a lot of water when you experience a flare-up.

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    What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Eczema

    • 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.

    What Causes Eczema To Flare Up

    GretalRabbit Writes: How I manage my eczema flare

    Eczema is a disease, it is not caused by stress, bad diet or poor hygiene. However, those external factors can sometimes cause eczemato flare up. You need to find what triggers your eczema flare-ups and avoid those factors, find what works for your skin. Managing stress and sticking to a daily skincare routine that hydrates your skin and restores its barrier to protect from irritants and allergens will help ease your symptoms. For more information on eczema watch our DERMCLASS videos: what is eczema and how to treat eczema.

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    Living With Eczema And Atopic Dermatitis

    Eczema can flare up when you are under stress. Learn how to recognize and cope with stress. Stress reduction techniques can help. Changing your activities to reduce daily stress can also be helpful.

    The area where you had the eczema may easily get irritated again, so it needs special care. Continue to follow the tips provided here even after your skin has healed.

    Relieving The Symptoms Of Contact Dermatitis

  • 1Wash off the irritant. If you notice a rash developing in response to something you’ve put on your skin, wash your skin off with warm soap and water.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to sourceXTrustworthy SourceAmerican College of Allergy, Asthma, and ImmunologyNational professional organization of allergists, asthma specialists and immunologists that focuses on supporting and publishing researchGo to source
  • You may notice red skin, small, itchy bumps, tiny blisters, and/or warm skin.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican College of Allergy, Asthma, and ImmunologyNational professional organization of allergists, asthma specialists and immunologists that focuses on supporting and publishing researchGo to source
  • Also wash anything else that came in contact with the irritant that you use regularly, such as your clothing.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican College of Allergy, Asthma, and ImmunologyNational professional organization of allergists, asthma specialists and immunologists that focuses on supporting and publishing researchGo to source
  • 2Avoid scratching. Though scratching is tempting, you should avoid it as much as possible. Scratching damages your skin, can make the rash worse, and possibly introduce infection.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
  • 7
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