If you suffer from frequent bouts of eczema, a great skincare routine is your top line of defense. Even if you only have flare-ups infrequently, a good knowledge of the skincare regimen that will sooth and help skin to heal your skin is essential.
Skincare routines are a bit like diet and exercise. Everyone knows it’s good for you, but sometimes it feels like too much work to keep on track. The good news is that it’s never too late to start a good skincare routine, or get back in the habit of using one.
The usual skincare advice doesn’t always work for skin prone to flare-ups, though. It’s important that you know the different things that can trigger your eczema and specific tips to help you sooth irritation.
Tips for Effective Eczema Skincare
- Use Gentle Soap or None at All. When someone tells you not to use soap, you probably cringe. The truth is that a lot of the soaps and shampoos on the market today have ingredients that can irritate eczema. You’ll notice more sensitivity to things with a lot of scent, for instance. If you’re using soap, it’s important that you choose brands made for eczema or that are especially mild. It’s actually better to bathe with no soap than it is for you to use a harsher soap that depletes your skin of needed oils. For your face, try our Gentle Daily Cleanser which is gentle enough for those with eczema and sensitive skin.
- Don’t Use Scalding Hot Water. Most people enjoy a hot shower, but it can be damaging for your skin if you have eczema. The best temperature is lukewarm. The hot water will remove oils from your skin, which has the adverse effect of irritating flare-ups. In fact, most of your eczema lotions and treatments are aimed at sealing those oils in.
- Limit Your Shower Time. Don’t take overlong showers either. Ten or twenty minutes should be your maximum. Staying in the water too long can also irritate skin prone to eczema and make it more drier.
- Moisturize After Each Shower or Bath. You want to moisturize right after each bath or shower. The reason for this is that it locks in the moisture, giving you the most benefit from applying your moisturizer. You can keep your preferred moisturizer in the bathroom. Organic Skincare Shea Butter is a highly moisturizing treatment for your skin after your shower or bath. Simply apply before you get dressed. Optimally, you want to apply it within the first five minutes.
- Choose the Right Moisturizer. Your doctor may prescribe a moisturizer for you. There are also milder moisturizers available over the counter and those made especially for eczema. You may have to try a few brands before you find one that works well for your skin. You also may notice that your regular moisturizer doesn’t work as well after a while. Skin changes and sometimes you’ll need to try new brands for a while to get optimal results.
- Protect and Pamper Feet and Hands. Feet and hands tend to be very susceptible to flare-ups. You can protect your feet and hands by wearing gloves and socks. There are eczema gloves made to wear to protect your skin from irritants in your everyday environment. You can also apply lotion to hands and feet and then cover with gloves or socks to let the moisturizer soak in.
- Take a Quick Dip in a Lukewarm Bath. A lukewarm bath can help sooth eczema, if only because you’re rinsing off the environmental irritants you come into contact with daily. You should also apply moisturizer after each bath.
- Try Homeopathic Soothers. Some old wive’s tales have their base in science. You might add baking soda to your bath to help sooth irritation. This old remedy also works for infants with diaper rash and it’s pretty immediate. Coconut oil is also a fairly good moisturizer for flare-ups, possibly because it has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Sunscreen is a Must. Sunscreen is a must for everyone. The sun’s rays can damage your skin, so it’s important that you wear sunscreen daily and choose a sunscreen that’s mild enough not to irritate your eczema. There are sunscreens that are safe for those with sensitive skin. As a general rule, you’ll want to use sunscreens that contain fewer chemicals.
- Make Sure Clothing and Detergents Aren’t Irritants. Your clothing choices and the detergents you use to wash bedding and clothes will have a direct impact on your flare-ups. Choose detergents that are fragrance free. There are clothing choices that are specifically good for eczema sufferers, cotton is generally a good material for those with sensitive skin.
- Use a Humidifier. Humidifiers are a must for those with eczema and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you see an improvement in your skin. You can use a small humidifier in the room where you spend the most time or where you sleep. It is important that you make sure the humidifier is cleaned regularly.
- Bleach Baths and Swimming. Swimming can be excellent for those with eczema because the chlorine in the water acts as a disinfectant. You can also use this method at home to keep flare-ups at bay. Add a half a cup of bleach to your lukewarm bath and you’ll reap the same skin benefits as doing 10 laps at your local pool. The bath won’t provide you the exercise but it is a good alternative if you don’t have access to a pool.
- For Women, Remove Makeup at the End of the Day. This is good advice for anyone who wears makeup. If you’re prone to irritation on your face, be especially picky with the types of products you buy and make sure that you remove them before bed. Also use this time to apply moisturizer to help replenish the skin on your face.
A great skincare routine can help you keep flare-ups at bay for longer and limit their duration. You can also pay attention to the lifestyle triggers associated with your flare-ups by keeping track of the foods you eat and monitoring stress levels and sleep patterns.