Helpful Hints on Caring for your Eczema

One of the most common forms of eczema is also called atopic dermatitis, which signals the fact that it is some type of skin disorder, sometimes a type of allergic reaction. Eczema is a chronic skin condition which often accompanies other conditions like hay fever or asthma and is marked by extremely itchy skin, that when you scratch it, it becomes red and swollen.

Anyone at any age can get it, although it is seen quite a bit in babies. However, for some, this skin condition first appears as an adult, usually after an illness. There is no true knowledge of how atopic dermatitis is formed but many doctors believe it is due to a faulty immune system. Eczema is not contagious luckily and while there is no cure, there are ways to manage it and avoid certain things that seem to trigger it.

Caring for your Eczema and Avoiding Triggers

There may be a host of things that can irritate your skin, so your job is to limit your exposure to them so that it does not trigger your eczema. Detergents you wash with, cleansers for the home, body soap and lotions all can cause an outbreak of eczema. Gasoline and solvents used in household repairs and such can be particularly harsh. In addition, simple hand washing can cause irritation so limit your hand washing episodes and dry them completely.

You may want to consider wearing gloves when you must work with water such as washing dishes or even washing your baby. Make sure that these plastic or vinyl gloves are long enough so that water does not splash inside them trapping moisture which can trigger eczema. For prolonged glove use, wear cotton gloves under the plastic or vinyl gloves. And during the winter time when the air is cold and dry, gloves can keep your hands warm, preventing irritation.

The best material for your clothing is always going to be cotton. It is natural, breathable and soft whereas synthetic materials or even wool may irritate the skin. When possible, remove the clothing tags to avoid irritable rubbing on the skin from it.

Take the time to pamper your skin during your shower or bath. Use only mild, gentle soap like Dove or Oil of Olay products. It is important to use just a small amount of soap and either apply using your hands or an ultra-soft cloth. You also want your water temperature to be warm or even cool as hot water will irritate the skin and dry it out quickly. A cool water soak can actually help the eczema as it would allow the skin some time to try and absorb the water. Always pat yourself dry with a soft towel as rubbing can cause problems. The application of moisturizer immediately after a bath or shower will help seal moisture from the bath to your skin.

When it comes to moisturizers, simple is often better. Avoid lotions with perfumes or additives. Instead, stick with the greasy options like plain old petroleum jelly. In addition, avoid becoming overly hot and sweaty as the heat and salt from the sweat can trigger an eczema outbreak. And whatever you do, avoid scratching the affected areas. If you break the skin, this could court a secondary bacterial infection in addition to the eczema.

The final thought for eczema is to always use the prescribed medications as directed and communicate with your doctor when it is not working. In addition, always be conscious of the decisions you make as it can affect future eczema outbreaks.