Eczema (aka atopic dermatitis) is a term used on a group of skin conditions that are characterized by scaly, rash-like irritation, inflammation, dryness, and at times, increased thickness of the skin in a particular area. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to the body’s immune system and its exaggerated response to specific triggers. Possible triggers include extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold), sensitivities to soap/detergents, animal dander, and in some cases, even stress. Since eczema has various causes there’s no specific cure for it, although people can effectively manage its flare-ups.
-If possible, avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity. You may want to keep a humidifier on during the dry winter season to keep the air moist, in order prevent drying out the skin.
– Apply lotions and creams when skin is slightly damp, after a shower or bath. This helps to retain the needed moisture.
-For severe itching, try not to scratch or pick at your skin- you’ll more likely cause the skin to break down and introduce a pathway for infection. Use cold compresses instead to help ease itching.
-Use mild soaps and detergents. Harsh chemicals tend to dry out the skin and worsen eczema. Be wary of “fragrance free formulas.” Even though it’s fragrance free, it’s more likely that some sort of chemical was added to mask a scent in order to make it fragrance free. Stick to natural ingredients such as oatmeal and aloe that are known to help soothe irritated skin.
-Recent studies have shown the effectiveness of extra virgin coconut oil in treating eczema. This is due to its moisturizing and antimicrobial properties.
-Severe eczema that remains uncontrolled regardless of the amount of moisture may need prescription-strength antibiotics or corticosteroids. See a dermatologist to determine the best treatment.