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Eczema

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Eczema

According to the National Eczema Association, “Atopic Dermatitis (which is often called eczema) is an itchy, red rash. It can appear all over the body. Many people have it on their elbows or behind their knees.  Children and adults tend to have eczema on the neck, wrists, and ankles, and in areas that bend, like the inner elbow and knee. People with eczema are usually diagnosed with it when they are babies or young children. Eczema symptoms often become less severe as children grow into adults. For some people, eczema continues into adulthood. Less often, it can start in adulthood. The rash of eczema is different for each person. It may even look different or affect different parts of your body from time to time. It can be mild, moderate, or severe. Generally, people with eczema suffer from dry, sensitive skin. Eczema is also known for its intense itch. The itch may be so bad that you scratch your skin until it bleeds, which can make your rash even worse, leading to even more inflammation and itching.”

Although there is no cure for eczema, a good daily skin care regimen is essential to controlling the disease.

First steps to treating eczema

  • Take short, lukewarm showers using a mild, fragrance-free, non-soap cleanser formulated for sensitive skin
  • Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel – don’t rub!
  • Apply a fragrance-free lotion with lipid-rich oils within 3 minutes of bathing to repair and strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier
  • Moisturize several times every day
  • Wear cotton and other soft fabrics. Avoid rough, scratchy fibers and tight clothing
  • Use a humidifier in dry or cold weather
  • Keep fingernails short to help keep any scratching from breaking the skin
  • Remove carpets and other known allergens from your house and give pets dander treatments

 

Avoid products containing:

Glycolic acid, Salicylic Acid, and Retinol.  While these are all extremely effective anti-aging agents, eczema-prone skin is easily irritated by these acids.

Preservatives can cause inflammation for those with sensitive and/or eczema-prone skin.  Avoid products containing parabens, including methylparaben, butylparaben, and methylisothiazolinone (MI).

Fragrance and Perfumes.  Even products labeled ‘unscented’ might contain fragrance or perfumes.  Look for the term fragrance-free.”  Same thing goes for products labeled ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘dermatologist tested”– these terms are basically meaningless.  Look for products labeled “allergy tested.”

 

Do use products containing:

Shea Butter, Glycerin, and/or Lanolin

These moisturizing all-stars improve your skin’s appearance, while also repairing it.  Look for one of these ingredients to be listed as one of the top three on a moisturizer or lotion’s ingredient list.

Hyaluronic Acid helps your skin draw moisture from humidity in the air, giving your skin an extra boost of protection.

Niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) helps further strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier.

A skincare regimen designed for sensitive skin can be very effective for eczema sufferers.

  • Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser for sensitive skin or specifically recommended for eczema. There are many excellent options available.
  • A hydrating, soothing toner will help replenish and maintain your skin’s natural moisture.
  • Always use a moisturizer with broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher for your specific skin type. Sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the best choices for those with eczema and sensitive skin types.  Applying a serum with vitamin C under your moisturizer will provide antioxidant benefits, as well as boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen.
  • In the evening, after cleansing and toning, follow with a hydrating, fragrance-free moisturizer recommended for your particular skin type.
  • Over-the-counter cortisone cream and prescription-strength topical steroid creams have proven very effective in treating most forms of eczema. These creams are normally only recommended for short-term use.  Apply only to the affected areas.

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