Itchy, red and sore, eczema is a lifelong condition for some and a bugbear for many. Appearing in dry, flaky patches that drive some of us to the extremes to control, eczema still seems to come out fighting.
Central heating, cold weather and dry climates can all be a trigger. Eczema never gives up and continues to have the upper hand.
Decades of research have still yielded no known cure for the condition. More than that, scientists struggle to know the cause as it affects so many in different ways.
So where are the hope and the relief?
Here’s our guide to defeating eczema for good:
It’s all in the routine
Cranking up the heat in the winter or indulging in a warm, bubbly bath for some of us are all part of life’s luxuries. Walking through cold weather and feeling the chap on our skin is an unavoidable certainty too.
So what can you do to get the most out of your everyday experience while combatting the effects of eczema?
Adopting everyday skin care habits can be the making or breaking of getting on top of your eczema. Although you can’t avoid cold and hot temperatures, bathing or turning on your radiator, there are things you can do to compensate.
Applying a gentle and rich moisturiser after exposure to whatever sets your eczema off will help tremendously.
Like when you have a lukewarm bath or shower. By using gentle, non-soap cleansers followed immediately by moisturising will lock in much-needed moisturiser and oils back into your skin.
Flareups and reactions
Anyone that suffers from eczema will know that a flareup can strike even when you’re sticking to a good skincare routine. It’s another one of eczema’s frustrating traits!
Nipping the itch-scratch-itch cycle in the bud as soon as an itch or scratch appears will give your skin the best chance at healing. So hit your eczema where it hurts!
Apply a cream or balm that contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin and niacinamide to lock in moisture and reduce inflammation.
Products that use more natural ingredients like B12 to boost healthy skin renewal will also lock in vital hydration to your inflamed skin.
For more extreme cases, topical hydrocortisone is a helpful interim measure when eczema gets the better of you. It can be used for a short period of time for bad flareups as it reduces itching, swelling and irritation. Speak to your local pharmacist or GP for more information.
Focus on one skin condition at a time
The unavoidable truth of having a skin condition like eczema is that you are likely to experience others at the same time. With your skin barrier already weakened, it’s no surprise that other conditions appear.
Treating blemishes or acne may make your eczema worse. So, focus on one skin condition at a time. Medications and products that contain retinoids and salicylic acid tend to irritate eczema and dehydrate your skin further.
Take care of your eczema first. Combatting dry skin and inflammation will increase your chances of getting on top of your acne better later on.
Reflect on your diet
Let’s be frank; what we put into our bodies affects our health and wellbeing. While we don’t have a miracle cure for eczema, there are several things we can do to keep its effects at bay. That starts and ends with you.
You may not have made the connection yet between what triggers your skin to react beyond environmental factors. Now maybe the time to take a closer look at how your lifestyle affects your skin.
Dairy, nuts, eggs and wheat are common triggers for eczema flareups. Keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks will show you what if any foods trigger your condition. Natural inflammatory foods rich in zinc like red meat, lentils and kidney beans may help ease your flareups.
Avoid itchy clothing
Although wearing clothes is unavoidable, there are certain wardrobe essentials that will avoid irritating your skin.
Wool jumpers and coarse fabrics are renowned for aggravating the nerve endings in your skin. You only have to touch it to feel its effects. Now imagine the microscopic woollen fibres twisting into your skin. Just the thought of it makes me itch!
Layering finely-woven cotton or smooth silk T-shirt or dress underneath woollen clothing will work as a barrier for your skin.
Food for thought: wearing protective clothing in the cold will help to regulate your skin’s temperature. So think about how your clothing affects your eczema when you’re out and about as well.
Ready to take on and defeat your eczema for good? Sticking to a well thought out skincare routine and lifestyle will do wonders for your skin. Are you up for the challenge?