Eczema is a chronic skin condition characterised by inflammation, redness, itching, and sometimes blistering. While there is no cure for eczema, there are various approaches to manage its symptoms and provide relief. By incorporating these methods into your daily routine, you can soothe your eczema and improve the overall health and appearance of your skin, alongside any medications you use.
Disclaimer: This article is solely for informational purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Do not make any changes to your lifestyle, diet or medications before speaking with your doctor.
Keep your skin hydrated
Something you have definitely heard many times before, but keeping your skin well-hydrated when managing your eczema is fundamental to finding relief. Dry skin can exacerbate your symptoms and can worsen the itching and irritation you experience. Once you find a moisturiser that works for you, always apply it to wet skin as this will help lock in the moisture, as opposed to applying it on to dry skin. Creams and ointments often work a lot better than lotions, as they are thicker and also more effective at preventing water loss from your skin.
2. Consider natural oils
Some people find relief through natural oils. For example, coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that has been shown to alleviate itching and redness. For people living with eczema, there is a lot of trial and error with natural solutions to your symptoms. Speak with your doctor about products you are interested in trying to see if they deem it safe for you to use based on your specific health plan.
3. Try an oatmeal bath
Oatmeal is renowned for its skin-soothing properties. Adding colloidal oatmeal to your bath can relieve eczema symptoms by reducing inflammation and itching. Colloidal oatmeal is very finely ground and dissolves easily in water, which creates a milky bath that forms a protective layer on the skin. Soak in an oatmeal bath for 15-20 minutes to calm irritated skin. Be sure to rinse off after your bath and follow-up with your moisturiser upon your clean, damp skin.
4. Choose your clothing carefully
The fabrics you choose can significantly impact your skin’s well-being, especially if you have eczema. Also, loose fitting clothing can prevent friction and avoid further irritation during a flare-up. Additionally, washing your clothes with a gentle, fragrance-free detergent can help minimize exposure to potential allergens. Check out this article on eczema triggers to learn more about clothes and eczema.
5. Reduce your stress
So much easier said than done! Stress is a known trigger for eczema flare-ups, making it crucial to incorporate stress-reducing practices into your daily routine. This may look like engagement in activities that promote relaxation, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. It can be difficult for many with demanding jobs or home lives to reduce their stress. Making little changes can have a huge impact on how you feel and how your skin behaves. One easy thing to do? Get a good night of sleep! Sleep is so important in stress management and if you are able to improve your sleep, you will only see benefits from it.
6. Identify and Avoid Triggers
It can take some time, but as you identify triggers to your eczema symptoms or flare-ups, you can help to reduce them. Here is an article on some potential triggers of eczema, for example environmental factors, food, hormonal changes and more. One way to figure out your own triggers (as everyone is different) would be to keep track of your flareups, when they occur and what symptoms you experience. You can do this using a mobile app like the My Derm app which was designed specifically for people living with inflammatory skin conditions. Once you identify triggers, take steps to minimise exposure to them, whether through dietary changes, allergen-proofing your home, or implementing stress management techniques.
7. Protect yourself from the sun
While sunlight can be good for the skin, excessive sun exposure can worsen eczema symptoms. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 when spending time outdoors and opt for a sunscreen specifically formulated for sensitive skin (or eczema prone skin) that is free of potential irritants such as fragrances and dyes. Additionally, consider wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats, to shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Also remember – the sun still exists in the winter! Sunscreen is everyone’s best friend all year round.
8. Wet wrapping
Wet wrapping is a technique that offers significant benefits for individuals struggling with eczema. This method involves applying a layer of moisturiser to your irritated skin, followed by a damp layer and then a dry layer of clothing or bandages. The moisture helps to hydrate the skin, while the wrapping serves as a barrier, preventing scratching and promoting the absorption of the moisturiser. Wet wrapping can provide immediate relief from itching, redness, and inflammation, offering a soothing and calming effect on irritated skin. This technique is particularly effective for acute flare-ups, offering individuals with eczema a practical and non-invasive way to manage their symptoms and improve the overall health of their skin.
Living with eczema can be frustrating at times, and it can involve a lot of trial and error. But finding relief is possible. Alongside your medical treatment, you may find some natural solutions to your symptoms. Speak with your doctor before trying anything new and remember that consistency is often key with skin management. You got this!