When your eczema is severe, it can be painful and stressful to deal with. Here are a few useful (and drug-free!) tips that can help you to feel a little more comfortable during a flare-up...
1. Remove irritants and triggers
When you're having a severe eczema episode, the last thing you need is further irritants making the situation worse.
Check the ingredients in your cleaning and personal care products
Fragranced, synthetic cleaning products like detergents and washing powders can include irritating ingredients. Look for gentle fragrance-free formulations instead.
Similarly, toiletries and personal care items can be full of artificial ingredients that are simply too harsh for delicate, broken skin. Avoid preservatives like methylisothiazolinone (MI) and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) as they can trigger eczema. Try these gentle toiletries instead.
Be mindful of allergens
Allergens from pets and dust mite have also been known to make eczema worse in some people.
Scratched, broken skin is more vulnerable to these allergens. Consider using an air purifier to remove the allergens from your indoor air.
Non-toxic allergy sprays also reduce the impact of dust mite and pet allergens. They help to neutralise airborne allergens, those present on furnishings and in laundry.
If you're allergic to dust mites, try using dust mite proof barrier cases on your bedding to physically block out the allergens.
Limit the damage from scratching
DermaTherapy bedding can also help to protect irritated skin. It is especially designed to create a smooth and cooling surface that is gentle on traumatised skin.
2. Take care when bathing
A bath or shower water dechlorinator or whole house water filter system is a safe way to remove virtually all chlorine from your water at home. Chlorine can be very drying on already sore, irritated skin. This chemical is now ubiquitous, as the water that comes into our homes and present in swimming pools is chlorinated to kill bacteria.
3. Be aware of the effects of the weather on your skin
According to Allergy UK, cold weather is one of the biggest eczema triggers.
As we move into autumn and the weather gets chillier, protect eczema-prone skin with a rich but unscented emollient cream. After showering or bathing, moisturise quickly to help prevent moisture loss.
Indoors, central heating can be very drying too. If the air inside your home is below 50% relative humidity (you can check this with a hygrometer), you might benefit from a humidifier. A humidifier is ideal for keeping moisture in indoor air and preventing skin dryness, which can make eczema worse.
4. Hydrate and nourish your skin
Aggravated, broken skin needs pure and nourishing creams and emollients to help it heal.
Many popular high-street lotions and creams recommended for eczema actually contain cheap 'filler' synthetic ingredients like petroleum and mineral oils which may further irritate it.
You can find a selection of gentle and nourishing moisturisers and lotions here. Because everyone's eczema is unique, we recommend that you do a patch test first to check for skin sensitivity. Some people have been known to react to even the purest essential oils, so it's worthwhile testing first.
5. Don't suffer in silence
Eczema can be challenging to manage. Your GP should be your first port of call if your eczema is affecting your day-to-day life.
The National Eczema Society is a great source of support. They offer a great deal of information and expertise, along with membership options, a helpline and links to support groups.
Joining a forum like Talk Eczema can be helpful for dealing with the emotional impact of eczema.
And finally, make sure your family, friends and colleagues are aware of your eczema if it is negatively affecting your work or social life.
Products that may help with eczema
Disclaimer: Information included in this website is intended for information purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for consultation with a medical practitioner.