How to Control and Manage Eczema/Dermatitis
What causes Eczema?
The cause of eczema is not known. However if a family member has eczema, asthma or rhinitis (hay fever) then it is more likely that it may develop. It is also common for children with eczema to also develop asthma or rhinitis later in life. However there are steps that can be taken that will help to manage and control eczema.
Some basic steps to help control Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Know what triggers the flare ups
Many things can trigger a flare-up of eczema, with dust mites and over heating being the most common triggers in beds. The important thing is to learn what your triggers are, when they usually occur and then try to avoid them. Covering mattresses, pillows and quilts with AllergEnd Plus™ dust mite covers will help with night time flare ups. The covers separate the skin from the mite allergen whilst keeping the eczema sufferer cool. Other triggers can include household cleaners, pet dander, grasses, chemicals, and certain foods.
Do not to get too hot - particularly when in bed
Extreme variations in temperature or humidity can often cause eczema to flare up. Although you can’t control the weather, you can control the conditions inside your home and most importantly in the bedroom. Use DermaSheets to regulate temperature in bed and air conditioning during the night in bedrooms to stay cool. Hot bedding materials such as latex (notoriously hot) and memory foam are very good insulators and may promote over heating. Monitor bedroom temperatures with a thermometer and dress in smooth fabrics. Flannelette pyjamas should always be avoided as they are hot and the fluffy/furry fabric tickles the broken skin.
Moisturise dry skin regularly
Regularly using moisturiser is one of the most effective ways to keep eczema under control. Remember to use moisturiser often, especially after baths and showers. For best results, choose a plain, unscented moisturiser. Look for one that doesn't contain additives or chemicals which can irritate skin. Thicker products, such as ointments and creams, usually provide the most protection for your skin.
Try to resist scratching the eczema
Eczema is itchy. But scratching can actually make you itch more. And scratching can also damage your skin and lead to an infection. Instead of scratching, find ways to help control the itch. Apply a soft, cool wet towel to the itchy area for immediate relief and leave on for 5-10 minutes. Remove the wet dressing and apply a thick layer of moisturiser.
Cool showers after workouts, training or exercise to avoid eczema flare-ups
For some people, getting overheated or sweating can cause eczema flare-ups. Consider a cool shower after training or workouts, this can help to lower core temperatures and reduce sweating.
Fragrances and Chemical additives
Fragrances in things such as soap, perfume, cosmetics and scented body lotions should be avoided, look for unscented, mild products without additives or chemicals.
Laundry and Washing detergents
Choose a liquid laundry detergent that is mild and unscented. Do not use fabric softeners. Washing new clothing before you wear it can also reduce irritation. Choose sensitive choice washing detergents and protect hands by wearing rubber gloves whenever you wash dishes or place your hands in water.
Watch your stress levels to avoid eczema flare-ups
You’re more likely to have a flare-up when you’re under stress and yes, the itching and discomfort of eczema can add to stress by making you feel angry and frustrated. To break the cycle of stress, try learning stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, yoga or meditation. Getting regular exercise can also help reduce stress.
Follow skin care basics in the shower or bath
Hot showers or baths are a common cause of eczema flare-ups. Keep the water on the cool side, room temperature water is best. Avoid harsh scrubbing of skin and use a gentle cleanser instead of soap on the areas that need it. When you’re done, pat dry (do not rub broken or eczema covered areas) and apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp.
Keep fingernails short and clean
Long fingernails will do more damage to the skin when scratching. Also if they are dirty they are more likely to infect and spread bacterial infections such as Staphylococcus Aureus (golden staph)
Protect your hands
Wearing light cotton gloves under the plastic gloves can help absorb sweat and cause less irritation. Cotton gloves can also protect your hands when you’re doing other types of housework. When outside in cold weather, choose leather or cotton gloves to protect your hands from dirt especially when gardening. Avoid woollen gloves.