If you’re experiencing itchy, inflamed skin that exceeds the severity of your average dry skin encounter - you, along with as many as 30 million adults and children in the U.S., may be suffering from eczema.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition typically characterized by the skin becoming itchy, dry, and inflamed. It’s really the medical term for a rash. While there is not yet a magical moisturizing cure, there are ways to drastically improve your eczema. Breaking down details on the skin condition below and sharing SLMD founder Dr. Sandra Lee’s pro tips for treating it.
What Is it?
So eczema is the broad name for a group of conditions - the most common subtypes include:
These appear as a scaly, itchy rash that can appear anywhere on the body. For some, the rash appears red and inflamed, for others their skin is rough and leathery. Eczema presents differently for everyone, but it’s almost always itchy. Though eczema’s exact cause isn’t known, it’s generally accepted to be an overreaction by the body’s immune system. You may also be genetically predisposed to eczema, or be more prone if your family has a history of asthma or allergies.
If someone has Eczema, it means their skin is unable to properly retain moisture. When functioning normally, our skin barrier helps keep irritants and allergens out and moisture in. Those with eczema have a less functional skin barrier – and the most obvious result is dryness. Other triggers to be aware of include: cold temperatures, harsh soaps, bathing frequently without following with moisturizer.
How To Get A Handle On Your Eczema
- Identify your triggers: the most common are changes in climate and weather, generally dry skin, natural or manmade ingredients (anything from soaps and fragrances to fruit and vegetable juices), stress, dietary choices (alcohol and dairy, in particular) or contact with itchy or irritating materials.
- Keep your hands off: complications from having eczema arise when people scratch their rashes. This, of course, is an incredibly hard instinct to control, because scratching an itch can feel great, and bring intense relief. However, if you scratch your rash, you introduce more bacteria from your nails and fingers into the area, which can cause an infection and make everything worse!
- Incorporate nourishing ingredients into your skincare routine: Colloidal Oatmeal (known for its anti-inflammatory / antioxidant properties) and ceramides (strengthen the skin’s barrier) are key ingredients to look for.
In addition to keeping your triggers in mind and using targeted creams, be sure to take showers that aren’t steamy hot and also, apply your body cream while you are still damp from your shower! Your skin retains more moisture when it is wet and your pores are open. Hope these hacks help to alleviate physical symptoms and emotional stress!