Tips for Treating Eczema
Not the most glamorous topic there is, but I felt inspired to share my experiences with eczema because lately, my eczema has been improving. Yay! I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve been doing right, and I realized that there are a few key things that greatly helped with treating this condition. In case you don’t know what eczema is, it’s inflammation of the skin and is often characterized by itching and dryness, redness, swelling, flaking, cracking, and even bleeding (yup). I think anyone who’s had it would know how painfully itchy it can get, and how unsightly it can become. I wanted to share some tips for treating eczema.
1. The skin must be kept moisturized at all times. Trust me on this, because it’s what I’ve been doing more diligently these past few weeks. Take a tube of a lotion that effectively moisturizes and doesn’t irritate your eczema. At the moment, for me, that’d be the Jergens Overnight Repair Moisturizer. Wherever at home that I stay for long periods at, I put a tube of this lotion right beside me. I’m often at my desk, so I put it beside the computer, right where I can see it so I don’t forget to apply.
I have eczema on two fingers on one hand, and I put on the lotion on both hands after every single hand-washing and once every hour, and in addition, anytime I feel like it. It may seem like a bit of an exaggerated frequency, but it works for treating, preventing, and keeping eczema under control. When I stay in air-conditioning, I use a more heavy-duty hand cream, the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, and try to apply it just as often. When my hands are in bad condition, I love using a an emollient balm, or solid lotion, as it’s called, made of natural ingredients from an Etsy shop named Epically Epic.
2. Avoid harsh soaps and highly-fragranced products. Avoid using perfumey soaps, shower gels, and lotions on areas with eczema because these may irritate the area. I love natural, unscented soaps or washes for those areas and try to stick to mildly scented lotions only. The strongly scented stuff I just put on the rest of my body.
3. Get enough sleep and try to relax. Aside from remembering to apply lotion frequently, this is the other thing I’ve been doing successfully. I can’t guarantee that this will be helpful to everyone with the same skin condition, but this definitely works for me. When I get enough sleep, my eczema is always noticeably less itchy and red as compared to when I pull a lot of all-nighters. Getting a good night’s sleep also helps keep my stress levels down. For me, being overly stressed automatically equals incredibly itchy hands and feet, which I can’t resist scratching and end up bleeding, ugly, and painful. Try to get enough sleep and relax when you’re feeling upset or stressed.
4. Wear plastic gloves if you’ll be handling cleaning products or dishwashing liquid. Someone had told me before that I was maarte for wearing gloves when I wash the dishes, but hey, I gotta do it to keep my eczema under control. Dishwashing liquids always end up irritating my skin and making my spots itchy and more dry. Gloves are even more of a must when you’ll be cleaning and using household cleaning products like detergent or bleach.
5. Try not to stay in the shower too long or use hot water. This is advice from a dermatologist I consulted, and true enough, I find my skin more likely to get irritated when I take too-long baths or when I give my daughter a bath and don’t towel off and apply lotion immediately. I often use warm water, which she said was alright, but avoid hot water which she told me would probably also make my eczema more itchy.
6. Take an anti-itch tablet and have your topical cream ready when your eczema is itchy. I usually just take something over-the-counter, like Alerta, to help make the itching more bearable and keep me from scratching like crazy. It helps. My dermatologist also prescribed a cream for me which I apply any time my spots are itching.
7. Consult a dermatologist. I think this is pretty obvious already so I saved it for last. Anytime you feel that you need help with any skin condition, and especially if your daily routines are starting to get affected and the condition just seems to keep getting worse, go to a derma. I’ve spent a lot on consultation fees and medications, but I always see immediate improvements. Once the medicine has taken effects, the rest is up to you. I find that maintenance is key. Follow-up doctor appointments, paying attention to your skin, and taking care of yourself are important factors in treating, and eventually getting rid of eczema.
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