Do you get red, itchy patches on your skin now and then? If so, you may be one of the 30 million Americans who have eczema. Eczema, also called dermatitis, is a term for a collection of skin conditions that result in rashes. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema.
Eczema may appear on your face, elbows, knees, hands or feet. While the redness and inflammation may look alarming, it’s not contagious. The exact cause of eczema is not known, but if a parent has it, you are more likely to have it as well. Certain environmental factors may also contribute to flare-ups.
In honor of Eczema Awareness Month this October, the dermatologists at Manhattan Dermatology put together this list of useful tips for how to prevent eczema flare-ups.
If you can determine what triggers your flare-ups, do your best to avoid these items. If you can’t figure out your triggers, certain household items are more likely to trigger an itchy eczema episode. Limit contact or take note of your contact with:
It shouldn’t be difficult to remember to wear gloves when you go out into the cold. Wearing gloves in cold weather not only keep you warm but they also protect your hands against the cold air that can dry your skin and exacerbate your eczema. But you should also wear gloves, plastic ones when you do dishes and other work that exposes your hand to chemicals or irritants. Be sure to give your hands a break from the gloves every once in a while, though, because you don’t want them to get to sweat. Sweat can also exacerbate your eczema.
Take warm baths or showers and keep them short. Long, hot showers can dry out your skin, making it more prone to flare-ups. Use unscented bath products, and not too much of them. When you’re done, use a soft towel to pat yourself dry. Don’t rub. Slather moisturizer on your skin immediately after a shower, while your skin is still damp, to help your skin best absorb the moisture and lock it on.
Dry skin gets irritated easily. It gets brittle and tight, which can lead to an eczema flare-up. The key to preventing dry skin is to slather moisturizer all over your body at least twice a day. Choose moisturizers without fragrance or a lot of extra ingredients. Creamy, thick ointments and creams are better than thin, watery moisturizers.
Getting stressed out about your eczema makes it worse, as does scratching it. Also, stress, in general, can lead to a flare-up. Practicing stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing and meditation, and just looking for areas where you can reduce stress in your life can help prevent an eczema flare-up.
For more information on eczema and how to prevent or treat it, call Manhattan Dermatology located in Midtown East New York City, New York, or make an appointment online.