If you have eczema, you know it can be difficult to control -- and hide. It itches, reddens, scales and oozes. And, most frustratingly, it always comes back. However an important way to minimize flare-ups and keep your skin looking and feeling its best is to moisturize it.
Like with any condition, there are some methods that are more effective than others. These tips will offer you the best ways for moisturizing your eczema:
Showering and bathing are great ways to moisturize your eczema. Not only can they be relaxing (stress is a factor related to eczema flare-ups), they can provide relief to dry, cracking skin and remove debris and irritants. Just be sure not to spend too long in the water. Within 10 minutes, your skin is as moisturized as it can be. Any period of time longer than that is unnecessary. You'll also want to avoid hot water, as it can dry your skin further.
To extend the effects of your shower or bath, be sure to apply a moisturizer within three minutes of exiting the tub. Doing this will help your skin retain moisture longer. So, gently blot yourself dry with a towel, then reach for a trusted lotion, cream or ointment.
Apply Medication First
If you use a topical medication to treat your eczema, be sure to apply it to your skin after drying off but before adding your moisturizer.
Find the Right Moisturizer for You
You might be wondering just what kind of moisturizer will work best on your eczema. There are potential benefits to a number of products. Lotions, for example, are the least heavy-duty moisturizers, but they are mild and tend to work great for people who live in humid climates. Creams provide a thicker moisture barrier for the skin, but can sometimes be more irritating. Ointments are the best at moisturizing, but they can also be greasy and lead to heavy sweating.
Gentle Is Key
Eczema is famously sensitive to rough treatment, so a soft touch is always ideal -- even when applying moisturizer. You will also want to use gentle products. Alcohol, dyes, perfumes and detergents can irritate skin further. Instead, look for natural ingredients like glycerin, mineral oil, linoleic oil and petroleum jelly.
Make Moisturizing a Twice-a-Day (at Least) Activity
Increased moisturizing is often needed under certain circumstances. If your skin is particularly dry, or if you live in an arid region, you will likely need to moisturize at least morning and night. In the wintertime, you may also need to increase the frequency with which you moisturize.
Make Use of Wet Dressings
After moisturizing, consider wrapping your skin with a therapeutic wet bandage. Gauze or paper towels are handy to use for this purpose. Just wet them and wrap them around your skin. Top them with a dry bandage. Once the bottom layer is dry, you can remove the dressings.
If you're living in a dry climate (or season), moisturize the air in a room with a humidifier. This appliance disperses water into the air, increasing the humidity. Just be sure you keep any humidifiers in your home or office properly cleaned. Otherwise, they can release mold and bacteria.
Consider Prescription Moisturizers
Your doctor can prescribe nonsteroidal creams and lotions that can enhance the effectiveness of over-the-counter products. In addition to moisturizing, medicated moisturizers have the added benefit of reducing side effects.
Eczema can't be cured, but it can be managed. These moisturizing tips can help you do so more effectively. If you'd like to know more about treating eczema, as well as other skin disorders. Keep reading for lots more information.
- Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema), Allergy, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Aug. 29, 2009). http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=76998
- Bathing and Moisturizing, National Eczema Association (Aug. 28, 2009). http://www.nationaleczema.org/living/bathing_and_moisturizing.htm
- Brain, Marshall and Karim Nice, "How Humidifiers Work," HowStuffWorks.com, Nov. 13, 2009 (Aug. 29, 2009). https://home.howstuffworks.com/humidifier.htm
- Dry Skin and Keratosis Pilaris, American Academy of Dermatology (Aug. 28, 2009). http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/skin_dry.html
- Infection and Eczema, National Eczema Society (Aug. 30, 2009). http://www.eczema.org/Eczema-Infection.pdf
- Knowing Your Child's Eczema, The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne (Aug. 29, 2009). http://www.rch.org.au/derm/eczema.cfm?doc_id=4596
- Lifestyle and Home Remedies, Mayo Clinic (Aug. 29, 2009). http://mayoclinic.com/health/dry-skin/DS00560/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies
- Skin Disorders, Discovery Home and Health (Aug. 30, 2009). http://www.discoverychannel.co.uk/homeandhealth/article.jsp?section_id=5&theme_id=10&subtheme_id=91&article_id=410&site=uk
- Treating Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis), U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 12, 2008 (Aug. 30, 2009). http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/allergy-and-asthma/2008/08/12/treating-eczema-atopic-dermatitis.html
- Types of Eczema, EczemaNet (Aug. 29, 2009). http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/types.html
- What is Eczema?, EczemaNet (Aug. 28, 2009). http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/whatis.html