Tips for managing eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a potentially long-term condition that can cause inflammation and irritation in the skin. There are several kinds, ranging from severe to moderate, and they affect over 30 million Americans. While living with eczema can be extremely frustrating, it’s easy to manage most symptoms through healing the affected skin and preventing future flare-ups.

Use over-the-counter products

It’s extremely important to keep your skin moisturized in order to control eczema. Ointments, creams and lotions all create a barrier to protect the outermost layer of skin, which is damaged by eczema. Look for fragrance-free moisturizers that contain oil, which is good at sealing in moisture.

Hydrocortisone, which is available in topical forms like a cream, has a mild steroid that will help in reducing itching, scratching and skin irritation. It is available at drug stores and supermarkets.

Change what you’re putting on your skin

Laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos and perfumes all contain chemicals that may irritate your skin and cause a flare-up. If you notice itchiness or irritation all over your body, try using a different laundry detergent or fabric softener. Alcohol-based hand cleansers can also dry out your skin. Use the process of elimination to narrow down the products that may be causing your skin to become irritated.

Develop a skincare routine

You can also manage eczema through daily routines to keep your skin healthy. Bathe in warm, not hot, water and use a gentle cleanser instead of soap and a body scrubber, which can cause irritation. Use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer soon after bathing to lock in the moisture. Avoid skin irritants like perfumed soaps, bubble baths and prolonged contact with household cleaners.

Reduce stress and anxiety

Physical and mental stress can also cause your eczema to flare up. When we experience stress, the body increases production of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can suppress the immune system and exacerbate symptoms. Some people’s symptoms worsen when they are under stress, and others may feel anxious about their irritated skin, which can also be a trigger. Identify situations and events that cause you stress, and use techniques like yoga, meditation, exercise, and other relaxing activities to combat negative emotions.

If you have already tried managing your eczema symptoms using these tips, contact your dermatologist and schedule an appointment to see if there’s a better treatment option for you.

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.