When It Is Hard to Love the Skin You Are In

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Eczema. Not only is it hard to spell, but it just sounds evil. Eczema is common name for a whole cluster of conditions that result in red, itchy, inflamed skin, including atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, and nummular eczema. According to the National Eczema Association more than 30 million Americans suffer from some form of this irritating skin condition. It is particularly common in babies. Approximately 13% of the American population under the age of 18 have some form of eczema (usually atopic dermatitis) and around 90% of them develop it before their first birthday. While there is no cure for eczema, but there are steps that can be taken to manage it.

Start with your bathing routine. Take a lukewarm shower, rather than a hot bath, and apply a trigger-free moisturizer immediately after bathing while your skin is still damp to help lock in moisture. Wear clothing made of soft, breathable fabrics such as cotton, and avoid scratchy materials and tight fitting clothes. Use a fragrance-free, dye-free laundry detergent. Over the counter anti-itch medications can also provide some relief from symptoms.

Because eczema covers a wide range of conditions, things that may cause a flare-up in one person may not bother someone else at all, so it’s important to keep track of environmental conditions that trigger a reaction in your own skin, and avoid them whenever possible. Common triggers include ingredients in cleaning products, perfumes, dust, pollen and other allergens, food allergies, perspiration and even stress.

If home remedies don’t provide relief, it’s probably time to see your health care provider.