The most defining feature of eczema is that it is uncomfortable and itchy. It is a condition which children mainly suffer from but also prevalent in adults too. It arises due to a shortage of oils and fats generated by the skin, which leads to a lack of water retainment. As a result, openings appear between the skin cells, which decreases the amount of moisture while increasing the flow of bacteria in the skin. The skin becomes inflamed and dry in consequence, especially when in contact with irritable ingredients found in many soaps and bubble baths. There are many different types of the condition which can be diagnosed by your doctor. Here at Myreen Young, we understand there are changes you can make at home to help ease the symptoms. There may not be a cure for eczema, but there are certainly effective ways to manage it.
Keeping your skin moisturised is the most effective way to treat eczema and should be on the top of your list. If you go to a doctor, they will primarily prescribe some emollient or moisturising cream for eczema. There are many different types of over the counter moisturisers for eczema, including cream, ointment and lotion. Avoiding any harsh products in moisturisers is a must, and sticking to natural and organic ingredients is one of the safest options for eczema-prone skin. Check you are not allergic to any ingredients included in the moisturiser before applying as some creams contain irritable preservatives and stabilisers.
How to Apply Moisturiser Effectively
You should apply moisturiser daily. Before you use the cream on the affected area, ensure you have washed your hands. This is to avoid any infection to the open skin through the bacteria on your hands. Moisturiser should be applied generously to irritated areas and at different times throughout the day. Every few hours, the skin should be moisturised. The most effective time to sooth eczema with moisturiser is just after a warm bath or shower, while the skin is still moist. To ensure the moisturiser is applied with as little irritability as possible, make sure to apply it in downward motions, matching the direction of hair growth. If the cream is smeared on the skin in circular motions, this can damage it even further causing further aggravation. Finally, if using a tub of cream, make sure to be cautious of dipping in and out of it, from container to skin. Bacteria can transfer from the skin into the moisturiser.
Change Your Hand Soap
The majority of soaps will cause further impairment to eczema-prone skin because they dry it out. Alternatively, you can use your moisturiser or emollient as a soap instead. However, 50:50 and urea-based emollients should not be used for this purpose. Like soap, wash your hands with the moisturiser/ emollient on wet skin and rinse it away in warm water.
Re-Think Any Skincare Products You Use
Looking through your current skincare products and removing any harmful ingredients that can dry out the skin is a great place to start. Cleansers which are waterless and antibacterial should be avoided, as they most likely include harsh alcohol and solvents which are renown for aggravating broken skin. When purchasing any new products, you should ensure they are labelled fragrance and dye-free, as well as unscented. After completing any skincare routine, be sure to moisturise your skin as soon as possible.
Use Oil in Your Bath Instead
Having a short bath is an efficient way to remove old skin and creams while ensuring bacteria is kept at bay. Also, the warm water can act as a soother for uncomfortable skin. A bath should last around ten minutes, especially for children. As previously mentioned, do not use irritable products such as bath gel and soap as this will cause the opposite effect of calming the symptoms of eczema. Instead, opt for bath oils which will help retain moisture in your skin. Double-check the oils you choose do not contain any harmful ingredients to your skin, in particular fragrances. Also, be aware, oil can make the bath slippery, so take extra caution. After the wash, gently dry the skin by patting the affected area. Rubbing the skin will harm the delicate skin and cause extreme discomfort.
When to See a Doctor?
Eczema can be prone to infection due to its dry nature. Sometimes it can be difficult not to scratch it which can end in open wounds. If moisturising is not helping and the skin begins to crack further and oozes yellow liquid, antibiotics may be necessary to clear up the infection. In extreme cases, steroid cream may be needed as a prescription by the doctor.
Eczema needs to be treated with care and caution. Always ensure you are checking ingredients with any products you apply to your skin. For further information on the importance of moisturisers, read our blog! If you would like to learn about effective natural treatments, take a look at our organic eczema cream.