Got Eczema? This Could Help...
Eczema is a severe dry skin condition, also known as dermatitis. Skin can become dry, itchy, sore, red and scaly, and sometimes even cracked. Often sufferers will scratch themselves until they bleed, creating a viscous cycle of the skin then needing to heal, becoming more dry and therefore more itchy. Eczema can come and go throughout your life.
Why do some people get eczema?
People who suffer from eczema, often don't produce enough oil and fat, meaning that their skin is less able to retain water. Less water retained, results in dryer skin. This reduced water retention can lead to gaps opening up between skin cells, where moisture is lost. These leaves skin more prone to infection, making it sore and inflamed.
How can we treat eczema?
Sufferers are often advised to be wary of which skin products they use: soaps, washing up liquid and bubble baths can often dry the skin out more, which may trigger a break out. We need to avoid drying the skin out where possible, so reduce getting hands wet and then dry frequently as this strips the skin of essential oils. Also, when you do get wet, it is vital to ensure skin is dried properly to retain as much moisture as possible.
Eczema is not contagious. It cannot be passed from person to person, because essentially, it is just extremely dry skin. Perfumed products are best avoided to prevent eczema symptoms. The most recommended products are those that add moisture to the skin and offer a barrier. Keep skin covered in extreme weather conditions, eg gloves in the cold and the wind, cotton gloves are ideal. Again, this is a great method to retain as much moisture as possible.
What should you avoid?
Try to avoid taking long or hot baths (or showers). Soaking in extreme temperatures can dehydrate the skin further. Try to stick to shorter, warm showers, using products such as Oilatum and Aveeno to both wash and moisturise with. E45 also offers perfume-free products to hydrate your skin. Vaseline jelly can be used as a barrier cream to prevent infection if hands do become extremely dry and cracked.
Some fabrics, such as wool, can often trigger a flare up of eczema. Stick to lighter materials, such as cotton, to avoid your skin being irritated. You may also find that getting too hot can cause you to itch and scratch, which can result in a flare up too. Try to keep the air in your home and bedroom cool. You could even invest in a humidifier, to prevent the air from drying out. This, in turn, should prevent your skin from drying too.
What can you take to ease it?
There are medicines available on the market to reduce itchiness, such as antihistamine tablets. By taking this medication when you are struggling, you should find it easier to prevent yourself from scratching your skin. Avoiding scratching is most probably the best thing you can do for yourself to prevent the symptoms worsening. Scratching causes damage, leaving you prone to infection. So trim your nails, keep yourself covered, whatever helps you resist the temptation.