Eczema causes your skin to be extremely dry and itchy. This skin condition is a result of the inflammation within your epidermis which affects its natural moisturizing properties. If you have eczema, then it is likely that your skin appears cracked, reddish, and may occasionally develop blisters in severe cases. Scratching your skin may only make matters worse since this can lead to infection.
Who are at risk?
Eczema is more common in newborns, particularly during the first two years of life. Studies show that about 15% of kids have eczema and often grow out of it after the age of three. Those who develop eczema beyond three years of age often have more persistent cases of the disease but eventually outgrows the condition by the time they grow older. Eczema also affects a small percentage of adults and is usually chronic.
Your dermatologist may prescribe a combination of topical treatments for your eczema called emollients which vary based on their ingredients and lipid content:
- Lotions – contains the most water which replenishes and hydrates. Mainly used to treat wet areas of skin and is less suitable for very dry skin.
- Ointments – creates a thick protective film for your skin to prevent it from drying out. May irritate some skin types since it takes longer for the product to be absorbed.
- Creams – has more water content compared to ointments and is easier to apply.
Other options include special soaps, shampoos, steroid creams for more acute symptoms. It’s important that you consult a doctor first before you apply or take any form of medication to avoid further complications. Make sure that you check the ingredients of a product to see if there are any substances which may cause possible allergic reactions.
Prevention, after care
Taking warm baths or short 5-10 minute showers are recommended. Don’t forget to apply your medications right after to seal in the moisture. Avoid long hot showers and gently pat your skin dry to avoid further damage. There are a variety of other products available which claim to help alleviate the symptoms of eczema but there are currently no available studies that prove the additional effects of these products on top of applying your prescribed topical creams. Another option is applying wet wraps on the affected parts of your skin to restore moisture. On the subject of clothing, certain rough fabrics like wool or low-quality linen may also worsen your eczema so opt for loose clothing made out of cotton.