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:
What Foods Should I Eat Or Avoid To Reduce My Risk Of Eczema
The connection between eczema and food allergies is unclear. If you have food allergies, then one of the reasons why you must avoid that food is that it may cause or worsen dermatitis. Examples of common allergies include peanuts, dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol and gluten. Pay attention to what you eat. If your eczema flares up after you eat a certain food, then you might have an allergy to it.
If you dont have a food allergy then there are no foods, including chicken, that will cause or worsen your eczema.
Beneficial Ingredients For The Sensitive Eczema Face
Now you know what ingredients you should run a mile from, here is the time to start learning about what ingredients are not only neutral or good for your skin, but can also aid in helping calm the sensitivities, inflammation and redness of eczema.
Please keep in mind, as I mentioned earlier, it is possible to have an allergy/sensitivity to many things which can include the ingredients I am about to list. But for the many, these ingredients are known heroes for the angry eczema skin.
1. Beeswax Its waxy coating over the skin forms a much needed, gentle moisture barrier to keep the skin better hydrated. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory to help keep the eczema at bay, this wax is also laden with Vitamin A which has antioxidant and immune boosting properties.
2. Bisabolol Alpha-bisabolol is the isolated compound of the Chamomile plant which has wonderful anti-inflammatory effects, is deeply healing and moisturizing while inhibiting collagen-breakdown enzymes and even possesses anticancer properties.
Bisabolol also increases the penetration capacity of other ingredients within the cream to further enhance the healing properties of the product which is why its important to make sure your product only contains good ingredients!
6. Natural honey You may have already heard of the virtues of honey for eczema, but it seems that its benefits continue to amaze us!
8. Oils Certain essential and carrier oils in cream/salves can be very beneficial for the skin.
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Medical Treatment For Eczema
Eczema cant be cured. But it can be managed by preventing and treating flare-ups as soon as they appear.
If your childs skin is inflamed and itchy, theyll probably need some corticosteroid ointment or cream. For mild eczema, you can buy mild corticosteroids over the counter at your pharmacy. The most common is hydrocortisone 1% cream. For more serious eczema or if the over-the-counter products arent working, youll need to see your GP to get a prescription for a stronger corticosteroid.
Other eczema treatments include pimecrolimus, a non-steroidal cream. Doctors might prescribe this cream for children with mild to moderate eczema on the face and in body folds.
If your child is scratching at a rash, you could ask your pharmacist or GP about using an antihistamine medication for a few days. Together with a corticosteroid cream, this might give your child some rest and help the flare-up to settle.
If your childs eczema rash gets infected, your doctor will prescribe a course of oral antibiotics.
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Eczema On The Face Versus The Body
Even though all three experts agree that the general signs and symptoms of eczema will be the same regardless of where it appears on your bodyface includedthere are some key differences that are important to be aware of.
As Wheeler explains, eczema on the face can be more difficult to manage since the skin is more sensitive and we tend to apply more products that might trigger a flare-up. This, for example, would require a different treatment strategy than a type of eczema on the hands called pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema which, Bae says, presents itself as deep-seated blisters.
“You can also get nummular eczema, which looks like a coin-shaped rash on the body. Plus, since many patients with eczema scratch and rub the areas affected, it’s not uncommon for the skin to appear thickened and/or sometimes darker in some areas of the body and face than others,” says Bae.
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Supplement With Vitamin D
In children and adolescents, studies have shown that those who suffer from eczema were more likely to have low levels of Vitamin D. In addition to increasing sun exposure, be sure to include vitamin D rich foods in your diet including sardines, eggs, and salmon.
We often recommend a high-quality vitamin D supplement to help boost your intake, especially during flares. Work with your provider for a personalized plan and dosage instructions.
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The Face Eczema Facts
While you may think of eczema as one health condition, its actually an umbrella term for a cluster of similar skin diseases that cause your skin to become itchy, red, and swollen. More than 31 million people deal with some form of eczema in the United States, according to the National Eczema Association.
The skin on your face is much more delicate than the skin on your body, so it requires more care and extra gentle ingredients. But to treat the problem, you need to establish that your dry skin is indeed facial eczema and not, well, regular dry skin.
Here, we explain how to tell if you have eczema on your face, what may be causing it, and the affordable over-the-counter products that can help you treat it ASAP. It can be tricky to distinguish the difference between eczema and dry skinboth are dry, both can be itchy, and both can be irritated with harsh products.
The key difference? Eczema usually flares up as patches in specific areas, like around your eyes or nose. On the body, eczema often surfaces in the creases of your arms or knees.
Other telltale signs of eczema include swelling, redness, and flakes. Or, eczema looks angrier. 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
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Aquaphor Healing Ointment $1374
Dr. Libby adores Aquaphors Healing Ointment as one of the best eczema ointments because its an occlusive moisturizer to seal in moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss from the skin. Not to mention, its relatively affordable at less than $20.
Both Dr. Chan and Dr. Mack recommend this as one of her favorite eczema ointments, too. Formulated with 41% petrolatum, glycerin and panthenol, Aquaphor helps to repair dry, cracked skin in the setting of eczema, Dr. Mack adds. Its also preservative and fragrance-free, helping to minimize the risk of allergic contact dermatitis.
Can It Help Facial Wrinkles
Everyones skin wrinkles in time, and the face is particularly prone to growing fine lines. While Aquaphor can hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it cannot actually treat or prevent them.
One of the most highly recommended ways to prevent wrinkles is to use retinoids, which are chemicals made from vitamin A.
Retinoids, sometimes called retinol, can boost your skins production of collagen, a substance that keeps your skin firm. Using retinoid products is one of the most effective ways to prevent fine lines on your face.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Eczema
There are steps you can take that may prevent eczema outbreaks:
- Establish a skin care routine, and follow your healthcare professionals recommendations for keeping your skin healthy.
- Wear gloves for jobs where you have to put your hands in water. Wear cotton gloves under plastic gloves to absorb sweat, and wear gloves outside, especially during the winter months.
- Use mild soap for your bath or shower, and pat your skin dry instead of rubbing. Apply a moisturizing cream or ointment immediately after drying your skin to help seal in the moisture. Reapply cream or ointment two to three times a day.
- Take baths or showers with tepid rather than hot.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Water helps to keep your skin moist.
- Try to avoid getting too hot and sweaty.
- Wear loose clothes made of cotton and other natural materials. Wash new clothing before wearing. Avoid wool.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature and humidity.
- Learn to recognize stress in your life and how to manage it. Regular aerobic exercise, hobbies and stress-management techniques, such as meditation or yoga, might help.
- Limit your exposure to known irritants and allergens.
- Avoid scratching or rubbing itchy areas of skin.
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 theres no evidence theres 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.
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Eczema Remedies You Can Probably Skip
There are a lot of folk remedies out there, and not all of them are helpful. Dr. Anthony recommends avoiding these eczema treatments.
- Anti-itch ointments and sprays. Theyre not always harmful, but theyre complicated. In some people, they can cause allergies, Dr. Anthony explains.
- Essential oils. Essential oils, including tea tree oil, are often touted as natural cures for all sorts of maladies. But theres no evidence that any of these oils help with eczema, Dr. Anthony says. And some people can develop allergies to essential oils, so its best to avoid them.
- Botanicals. Plants are natural, so they must be gentle right? Not necessarily. Creams with botanical ingredients such as calendula can trigger allergies, he says. Its better to choose bland moisturizers with few ingredients and no added fragrance.
- Evening primrose oil. Some people claim this herbal supplement helps reduce eczema symptoms. Unfortunately, theres no solid evidence to show that it helps.
Eczema Treatment For Children
With a good regimen of bathing, moisturizing and prescription medications , you can help your child be more comfortable
There is no one right treatment for eczema in children. What works for another child may not work for yours. You may have to go through several treatments or combinations of treatments in partnership with your doctor before you find one that helps manage your childs symptoms. Be persistent and patient as treating eczema can take several weeks or longer before you see real progress.
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How To Treat Eczema On The Face
When you have eczema on the face, natural treatments are a better first line of defense because these products will not aggravate or strip the skin. The last thing you want to do is put cortisone on your face because cortisone, over time, thins the skin. It may stop the itching temporarily, but you will need to keep applying it, and over many years of use your skin cells will become weakenednot a good option for your face.
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.
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Emollients For Treating Eczema
Emollient creams add moisture to the skin. Apply moisturisers each day to clean, dry skin. It is especially important to moisturise after showering and bathing, and when living or working in an air-conditioned or heated environment. You may need to try several different brands until you find the emollient that works best for you. Ask your doctor, dermatologist or pharmacist for advice.
Gentle Soaps And Detergents
Laundry detergent can contain harsh chemicals that aggravate eczema.
Many body washes and cleansers contain detergents, which help provide a soapy lather. Detergents and other lathering agents can dry out the skin, especially in people with eczema.
Bar soaps can also be harsh on the skin because of their alkalinity.
Try using a gentle, no-lather, fragrance-free cleanser. Avoid products with rough particles for scrubbing or exfoliating, as these can further irritate the skin.
Many people with eczema also find that switching to a more gentle, fragrance- or color-free laundry detergent can help improve symptoms.
Additionally, try skipping fabric softener, which lingers on clothes and often contains fragrances and chemicals that can irritate the skin.
Sitting next to a fireplace or near a furnace may feel good, but it can worsen eczema symptoms. The hot, dry air can dehydrate the skin and aggravate the itchiness of eczema.
Use a humidifier during the dry winter months and avoid getting too close to heaters and fireplaces.
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Increased Exposure To Environmental Toxins
There are toxins in the air, water, soil, foods, body products, cosmetics, home furnishings and even clothing. Environmental toxin exposures can directly dampen immune system function, specifically how immune cells develop and how they function. Kids have higher metabolic rates and their bodies absorb more toxins than adults and have difficulty disposing of these toxins.
Children are exposed to these chemicals more than ever. In fact, there are approximately 80,000 chemicals produced and only 8 chemicals are restricted on a government level. This overload of toxins may trigger an immune response, and increase flares of eczema, allergies, and asthma.
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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Tips On Choosing A Moisturizer
Finding a moisturizer that works can be a challenge. What works for one person may not work for another. As the condition of your skin changes so can the effectiveness of a product. A manufacturer may also change the formulation of a product from one year to the next. The best eczema lotion, cream or moisturizer is the one that works for you.
Take the following steps when introducing a new product to your skin: