Pick the right skincare products!
I can’t stress how essential this is. You should look to avoid harsh irritants all the time if you want healthy skin (and not just when the condition is bad).
Hope’s Relief is a great choice- it has been developed from over 35 years of research by naturopaths and is now sold worldwide. The range contains Australia’s No.1 natural eczema cream, and the cream was awarded ‘Best Body/Personal Care Product’ from Natural Lifestyle Magazine in the UK.
A pilot study showed that 93% of study participants found Hope’s Relief effective in relieving the symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis as well as dry itchy skin. The range is safe and suitable for all ages from newborn babies to adults.
The range now includes: Intensive Dry Skin Rescue Cream (for severe patches),Moisturising Lotion (for more liberal all-over-body-use), a Soap-Free Cleansing Bar,Shampoo, Conditioner, Goats Milk Body Wash and Goats Milk Soap.
Eat the right fats
Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory and therefore good for irritable, sore skin conditions. Eat plenty of clean oily fish or take an Omega 3 fish oil supplement (with a good level of EPA).
Omega 6 is generally pro-inflammatory. Omega 6 can be found in vegetable oils such as sunflower oil and margarines. Levels of these are generally high in processed foods so try to avoid them. Replace sunflower oil with olive oil when cooking.
Get a healthy diet
Make sure you eat your 5 a day or preferably more! Carotenoids are good for the skin and generally found in orange, yellow and red fruits and vegetables. Blueberries and avocado are also some of my favourites for healthy skin.
Make sure you get your 2 litres of water a day. I like to start the day off with a glass of hot water and a squeeze of lemon to cleanse the system.
Beware of alcohol
Alcohol is a common trigger, as it can dehydrate the body, dry the skin and exacerbate itching.
Avoid topical irritants
These can be found in the form of detergents and surfactants – which can range from household cleaning agents to the products we use to clean our own bodies. Choose natural, unperfumed products and those that are soap-free or specifically tailored for sensitive skin or eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. Also be aware that the latex gloves many people wear to protect their skin when washing up or cleaning can actually cause an allergic reaction.
Watch out for hidden irritants
Nickel (found in many jewellery items, studs of jeans, zips and watch straps) can cause allergic reactions in some people, as can leather dye and tannins. Watch out if going barefoot in summer sandals or when wearing belts and straps that may touch the skin!
Relax and de-stress
Stress is a common trigger, which also seems to make scratching worse. Seek help if you are suffering from stress. Counselling, yoga, gentle exercise, meditation and sometimes a good old chat with a trusty friend can help ease some of life’s pressures.
It’s true what they say - regular, sound sleep can help many things including the repair of skin or our ability to manage it and face the day ahead. Magnesium supplements can be helpful as can some botanical extracts.
Beat dust mites
Yep, you're right, what a better time for a spring clean than spring! It is not the mite itself but proteins in their droppings which are associated with irritating asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis.
If dust mites are a trigger for your skin condition, try the following tips:
- Your bed is one of the worst places for dust mite exposure: make sure you wash bedding regularly, (ideally at 60 degrees centigrade or above to kill mites).
- Try using dust mite proof barrier cases to physically block the mites out.
- Hoover the mattress and all soft furnishing and floors often. Use a high-filtration vacuum cleaner with filters capable of retaining a high proportion of the smallest particles (HEPA filter, S-class filter or similar).
- Damp-wipe/ dust all surfaces each week.
- Wash soft toys at 60 degrees, or if only lower temperatures are possible, place the toy in a plastic bag in the freezer first for 12 hours.
- Reduce humidity by increasing ventilation, opening windows regularly. Extractor fans can help too. Avoid drying your washing on the radiator!
Tackle pet dander
Pet allergens can be a trigger and some of the above tips also apply to removing pet hair. Sadly, if you have a proven allergy to your pets then the best advice is to not have one in your home!
Lindsey Miller has had over 6 years of practitioner experience and 6 years’ experience within natural products industry. Here are some more of Lindsey's top tips for eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis sufferers.