Eczema is itchy, irritating, and persistent. And it’s common enough that experts have marked October as Eczema Awareness Month. The good news? From topical therapy to oral medications, there are many successful treatments available that can get this frustrating skin condition under control.
And once your eczema has cleared, there are simple steps you can take to help prevent flare-ups in the future. The skin care pros at Specialists in Dermatology have put together seven practical tips for stopping eczema from taking control of your skin.
1. Identify your triggers
Eczema outbreaks can be triggered by a variety of issues. Yours may be influenced by pollen, dust, mold, or certain foods. Try to identify what causes your eczema to flare up and avoid these triggers whenever possible.
2. Moisturize with care
Dry skin is a common eczema trigger. Moisturize regularly, even if your skin isn’t dry. Apply lotion right after a shower when your skin is still moist, and reapply throughout the day as necessary. Consider using hypoallergenic skin care products, since perfumes and other additives can irritate skin.
When you’re trying something new, test your skin sensitivity by applying a small amount to your inner arm and waiting 24 hours before using. Don’t use the product if the test area becomes itchy, red, or irritated.
Try wearing gloves for those household chores that expose your hands to cleaning products that can strip away the moisture barrier from your skin. Apply lotion before donning the gloves for a deep moisturizing treatment as you clean.
3. Avoid dry environments
Forced heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer can drain moisture from the air, which also dries your skin and increases your risk of an eczema flare-up. Use a humidifier to create a skin-friendly indoor environment.
4. Steer clear of dust
Dust, pet dander, and other particles in the air can bring on an eczema flare-up. Keep your home and work environment dust-free with weekly cleaning as well as furnace and air conditioning filters designed to trap dust and other indoor pollutants.
5. Wash before you use
Take time to wash new clothing, blankets, or other fabric items before you use them. This helps remove chemicals and potential skin irritants that often remain after the manufacturing process.
6. Keep it loose and skin-friendly
Tight clothing can cause friction that irritates sensitive skin. Nylon and other synthetic blends, as well as scratchy natural fabrics such as wool, may also trigger eczema. Reach instead for soft fabrics such as cotton, and wear clothing that allows your skin to breathe.
7. Keep it cool
A long steamy shower may soothe sore muscles, but hot water is extremely drying for your skin. Keep the temperatures warm to lukewarm and pat your skin dry afterward to help preserve the moisture you’ve gained with the shower. Also check your soap, body wash, and other skin care products, and switch if necessary to gentle cleansers that clean without drying.
If you’re struggling with managing your eczema and are hoping for better control of this common, itchy, persistent skin condition, schedule an appointment at Specialists in Dermatology. Give the office a call or use our convenient online scheduling service. We’re here to help with all your skin concerns.