This week we are promoting National Eczema Week to help bring the awareness of this skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Stay tuned because we will be publishing extra articles, posts & stories to help inform & educate our community on this often debilitating skin condition. In this article we will share tips & tricks to help you manage eczema and also recommend some products that will repair and strengthen your skin’s barrier to reduce the symptoms and help make living with this skin condition so much easier.
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a common and relapsing skin disease that stems from inflammation of the skin and is associated with damaged skin barrier function. While the severity varies between people, eczema is characterised by rough, red patches, flaky, dry skin, and an intense itch. The exact mechanism of the disease remains unclear, but it is known to be triggered by many factors.
Each person suffering with eczema may identify different triggers and may respond differently to treatments. It is because of this that eczema can be a highly personal condition and the treatment of eczema can be an individual journey. Often, the best solutions are found by exploring several approaches before you find the regimen that works best for you.
Easier said than done… however, scratching damages the skin’s barrier even further which eventually makes the condition worse. It is called the itch-scratch cycle: the itch causes the scratch, and the scratch causes more inflammation with more rash and itch. Some non-medical tips for breaking the itch-scratch cycle:
+ Instead of scratching it, try to pinch itchy skin. There are free programs available that teach people how to alter their persistent scratching and picking, such as SKIN DEEP: A Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin.
+ When your itching gets out of control, try to put a cold compress or ice pack on your skin to calm and reduce inflammation
+ Keep your home cool to ease itching; around 18 °C is ideal
Anything with a scent may be irritating to your skin! Stop using perfumes and heavily scented personal care products.
Take care of your skin everydayMost people are used to taking care of their skin when it feels dry and itchy. To prevent these skin problems, apply a nourishing product at least twice a day, every day regardless of whether it is dry and itchy or not. Your skin will thank you for it!
ProductsUsing a moisturiser is one of the most important things you can do to help control your eczema, as moisturisers help repair and strengthen the skin’s barrier. Moisturisers are classified based on the amount of oil and water they contain. Ointments have the highest oil content of all the moisturisers, followed by creams and then lotions. The best moisturisers to treat eczema are usually the ones that contain the most oil as they are very effective at keeping moisture in the skin and irritants out of the skin. Some Nourished recommendations include:
+ Sans [ceuticals] Activator 7 Body + Hair + Face Oil
+ Bondi Wash Night Balm - Buddhawood & Blackcurrant
+ Ere Perez SOS Papaya Marmalade
+ Sans [ceuticals] Barrier Restore Body + Hand Butter
A good way to end this article is with this final tip: listen to your skin. This was mentioned in a memorable speech from a board member from the National Eczema Association, who talked about her experiences after living with eczema for 40 years. Always listen to your skin, she said. Sometimes your skin may whisper to you with a tingling itch and other times it may yell at you with a whole-body flare-up. By listening to your skin and taking the above-mentioned tips to heart, you can ensure that in the end there will be more whispering and less yelling.
Explore the Sensitive Skin collection at Nourished.
Read more about caring for eczema & dermatitis skin.
This article was written by guest contributor Dr Coco Dekkers. Coco lives in Amsterdam and is a PhD medicine - dermatology student.References
+ Yang, G. et al. Skin Barrier Abnormalities and Immune Dysfunction in Atopic Dermatitis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020 Apr 20;21(8):2867.
+ Harrison, I.P. and Spada, F. Breaking the Itch-Scratch Cycle: Topical Options for the Management of Chronic Cutaneous Itch in Atopic Dermatitis. Medicines (Basel). 2019 Jul 18;6(3):76.
+ Grossbart, T. and Sherman, C. SKIN DEEP: A Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin. Available via http://grossbart.com/SkinDeep.pdf
+ Eui Kim, B. et al. Significance of Skin Barrier Dysfunction in Atopic Dermatitis. Allergy Asthma Immunology Research. 2018 May; 10(3):207-215.