Seven Easy Tips for Dealing with your Eczema this Winter
Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) is known as the itch that rashes due to the way it tends to progress. It often first starts as dry, itchy skin, then progresses to small raised bumps. Eventually the skin begins to become red and angry in appearance. When treated, this same order is how it tends to get better as well. First the itch improves followed by the rash and finally the skin returns to its normal color.
Eczema is caused by an overactive immune system and a defect in the cellular layer of the skin that typically “locks-in” all of your natural moisture. Common triggers from our environment include hot or cold temperatures, allergens such as pet danders or even dust and in some people certain foods. The body’s strong reaction to these triggers causes inflammation of the skin and the cascade of symptoms and changes that follow. For this reason, treatment is primarily focused on calming the immune system and replacing moisture into the skin (or preventing its loss).
The following are our recommended strategies for treating eczema:
1. Soak and Seal – start with daily or every other day lukewarm baths. Pat the skin dry gently after the bath and immediately place a layer of your prescribed steroid cream on the skin that is inflamed (itching,raised, or darkened). After you have done this “lock” your lotion and medicine in with a layer of a thick emollient like Aquaphor, Cetaphil, Crisco, or olive oil over all or your skin including your eczema.
2. Avoid lotions, face washes, lotions, sunscreens, perfumes, and laundry detergents with dyes and fragrances in them. These can be irritating to the skin, and the skin may become inflamed making the eczema worse.
3. Stay well-hydrated by sipping water throughout the day.
4. If you have been outside for a long period of time, especially during times with a high pollen count, immediately rinse off (again a lukewarm bath is great) before sitting down on any of your furniture.
5. Some materials can also be irritating to sensitive skin so avoid clothing made out of wool or those with lanolin in them.
6. If you have environmental allergies, consistent treatment with the recommended regimen which may include an antihistamine will also be helpful for your eczema.
7. Eczema is something that can be effectively managed. If eczema is something you or your child struggle with, there are many options for treatment. Follow-up with your allergy specialist to discuss the best options for you and your lifestyle.