Battling a skin condition like eczema can be challenging and frustrating—to say the least. With uncomfortable symptoms and sporadic flare-ups that commonly show on visible places like face, hands, and feet, it’s likely that someone who suffers from eczema also suffers from embarrassment. But it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, eczema is quite common. The National Eczema Association estimates that more than 10% of the general population has this hereditary skin condition. Key to managing it is an understanding of what triggers your flare-ups and knowing how to treat them.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a general term used to describe a group of chronic skin conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed and itchy. This skin disease usually begins in infancy or childhood but can attack at any time, even as adults. With intermittent flare-ups and remissions, eczema shows itself with red, dry, thickened, scaly patches or a rash. Extreme symptoms include cracked or swelling skin, discoloration, oozing, and even bleeding. The most common form of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. While doctors don’t know exactly what causes eczema, it was recently categorized as an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells.
Among the common eczema triggers are use of soaps and shampoos with irritating ingredients, such as fragrances, stress, certain fabrics, temperature extremes, dry skin and more.
To keep eczema at bay, it's helpful to chart the triggers that cause flares and minimize the conditions that cause symptoms to worsen. To help decrease flare-ups, consider the following tips, which have been effective for many eczema sufferers.
- Establish a daily skin care routine. Look for gentle skin care products, like the Lexli aloe vera skin care line, that will not only soothe and calm inflamed skin but will also encourage cellular rejuvenation.
- Avoid exposing skin to extreme temperatures. When skin becomes too dry from cold temperatures and low humidity, keep it covered. Also, choose a moisturizer that is safe on sensitive skin and rich in emollients and humectants that lock in moisture. A gentle, aloe-based cream like Lexli Night Moisturizer brings soothing and immediate relief to face and body.
- Add humidity. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the dry air in your home or office will soothe uncomfortable skin.
- Eliminate harsh soaps. Use a glycerin bar or gentle cleansing lotion when washing your face and body. Products formulated with harsh ingredients strip the skin of its acid mantle, increasing the likelihood of transepidermal water loss, which worsens symptoms.
- Cool the showers. Shower with lukewarm water and moisturize immediately after with a healing hand and body lotion. Warm showers also strip the skin of its protective moisture barrier.
- Change-up your laundry detergent or fabric softener. Choose gentle detergents made for babies or sensitive skin. Fragrance-free detergents are best.
- Scratch less. The scratching that accompanies the unnerving itch of eczema can lead to infection and other damage. Try soothing patches of eczema with a rich but gentle product that nurtures skin.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting or scratchy clothes. Wear loose fitting cotton clothes and avoid garments made of wool or synthetics.
- Keep sweating to a minimum. The loss of fluids and the sodium in sweat can irritate and dehydrate the skin.
- Reduce stress . Find ways to reduce your stress level or cope with stress like breathing techniques, meditation or yoga.
- Eat healthy. All eczema can potentially be improved with changes in diet. In fact, many have found relief with a diet that reduces inflammation in the body. Chart what you eat to discover the foods that most impact your condition.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is essential for the body to properly heal itself. In fact, the body performs most of its cellular repair during sleep.
- Visit the doctor. For extreme cases, your doctor may prescribe oral medications, steroid creams or light therapy.
Even though there is not a known cure for eczema, identifying and avoiding the triggers that affect you is critical for managing flare-ups and goes a long way when finding a treatment plan for eczema.