Eczema is a skin condition that can affect anyone, regardless of their age, which means that even though it’s more commonly seen in children, you’re just as likely to develop it in your adult years. It can also affect men and women equally and does not discriminate against race. The good news is that there are a number of skin treatment options available if you suffer from eczema.
What Eczema Looks and Feels Like
Eczema can start with an itch, even before there are any visible signs. This will then be followed by a rash with flat red bumps on the surface of the skin; it will still be itchy. The rash usually appears on the face, behind the knees, wrists, feet, or hands, and the affected areas also often appear dry, thick, and scaly.
What Triggers Eczema
Although the cause of eczema isn’t exactly known, it’s believed to be a form of allergic reaction, except that your body has a more overactive response than normal to the irritant, which can be anything from food to dust mites. Eczema is also most commonly seen in people whose families have a history of allergies.
One of the most annoying things about living with eczema is that almost anything can trigger a rash to flare up. It can be something as simple as certain household products or a coarse material touching your skin. Stress is also a common trigger. Eczema is usually worse in the winter, due to the cold air outside and the dry air inside.
Living with Eczema
There’s no real cure for eczema, but on the positive side, if you suffer from eczema, it’s fairly easy to live with, as there are several skin treatment options available to lessen the irritation and discomfort.
• Temperature: Always stay hydrated and moisturize your skin, especially during the winter; this will help prevent irritation. Another easy skin treatment for eczema is to simply avoid taking really hot showers or baths, which can encourage flare-ups. And don’t bathe for too long either, as this can leech essential oils out of eczema-afflicted skin. Try to keep your baths under 10 minutes and use the towel to pat your skin dry instead of rubbing.
• Household products: Certain household products can trigger allergic reactions, sparking an outbreak. Products like cleaners, detergents, and fabric softeners can aggravate eczema symptoms, so try and stick to natural, unscented products whenever possible. If you purchase a new household product, test it out first to see how it affects your sensitive skin. If you have sudden flare-ups of your eczema symptoms, try and map what products might be causing it.
• Beauty products: Many soaps leave behind a residue that that can dry your skin out; dry skin is especially precarious for eczema sufferers because it leads to cracks that expose the underlying tissue. The ingredients in certain anti-aging skin care and beauty products can also aggravate eczema, so make sure you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin—to be safe, stick to using only organic, all-natural brands. Also, always do a patch test on a small area of skin before applying a product all over, just to make sure it doesn’t work against your eczema.
• Topical treatments: Your doctor can prescribe a topical ointment to help relieve the itching. There are also skin treatments that can help soothe some of the other symptoms of eczema rashes, like dry skin and cracking. It’s always a safer bet to go through a doctor or dermatologist than experimenting with over-the-counter skin treatments for eczema, just because your skin is already so sensitive to begin with.
• Clothing: Your clothes can serve as an effective skin treatment for eczema. If you suffer from this skin condition, cotton is the best material to wear because it’s known for being hypoallergenic. Cotton is also soft, comfortable, and lets your skin breathe.