Eczema-prone skin is super sensitive and is deficient in the natural skin barrier that helps seal in moisture in the skin. That’s exactly why those who suffer from this condition have to baby their skin and be extra mindful of everything that makes contact with their skin, be it the body care you use, clothing, and even fabric softener and detergent.
In this article, we suggest several practical tips that help alleviate eczema symptoms, including a few useful home remedies you can try.
1. Moisturize immediately after taking a shower or bath
Skin that’s prone to eczema is chronically dry, and the best way to protect your skin from becoming even flakier, itchier, and more inflamed is to cover it with an occlusive moisturizer, balm, or ointment. Moisturize right after a shower or bath, don’t wait for your skin to become drier.
Ideally, you should quickly pat-dry your skin with a towel and moisturize within 3 minutes after getting out of the shower with a moisturizer rich in oils. You will need to do this every time you take a bath or shower, and if your eczema shows up on your hands, it’s also a good idea to moisturize your hands after you wash them throughout the day. Moisturizing will help prevent flareups and will also make a rash go away sooner.
2. Try colloidal oatmeal baths
If you’re experiencing a flareup that spreads on larger areas of the body and face, taking colloidal oatmeal baths for a few days in a row is scientifically-proven to reduce skin itchiness, calm down the redness, and heal the flakes or cracks in your skin. Colloidal oatmeal, or Avena sativa, is a powder made from finely-ground and boiled oats.
Preparing a colloidal oatmeal bath is easy: simply pour an appropriate amount of the colloidal oatmeal in lukewarm water and soak for 10-15 minutes in the bath, making sure that all the affected areas are submerged in water. You can also make your own oatmeal powder by grinding 1 cup of oats in a spice grinder until completely fine and smooth.
Colloidal oatmeal is also present in some creams and ointments, and these moisturizers are almost always fragrance- and irritant-free, so they will work well for eczema-prone skin. You can ask a shopping assistant at your local drugstore to help you find a moisturizer with colloidal oatmeal.
3. Bathe strategically
Bathing can really help you reduce eczema flareups, as one of the common causes of a flareup is the accumulation of sweat on the skin or exposure to allergens, such as pet dander. In addition, baths can help rehydrate your skin. With that said, excessive bathing often has the opposite effect, and it can make your eczema worse in the following cases:
- When you’re using water that is too hot or too cold
- You’re bathing too frequently
- Showering or bathing for too long.
1. Use exclusively lukewarm water.
2. Bathe or shower once a day, more if you’re going to the gym or sweating.
3. Limit bathing time to 10–15 minutes.
4. Be aware of the cosmetic ingredients you should avoid
Eczema-prone skin is a lot more sensitive to irritating skin ingredients than other people’s skin. This is exactly why you should be wary of the cosmetic products you’re using, be it your shampoo, shower gel, or moisturizer. First and foremost, avoid ingredients and products that strip the skin of its natural oils too much, such as alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, soap, and scrubs.
Also, stick to fragrance-free, dye-free, and essential oil-free cosmetic products, as both of these ingredients can irritate the skin. Seeking out hypoallergenic products or even products sold for babies is a good tip.
5. Try natural oils
While essential oils can be quite drying and irritating for eczema-prone skin, moisturizing carrier oils are actually quite beneficial for those who suffer from eczema. Here are the 3 natural oils known to help eczema:
1. Virgin coconut oil contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients. It also helps seal the skin and protects it from environmental stressors.
2. Evening primrose oil is favored by many eczema sufferers due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Sunflower oil also protects the skin from outside stressors and helps keep moisture in the skin.
All of these oils can be applied topically to the body or the scalp, before or in place of a moisturizer. We advise against putting these oils on the face and parts of the body where you may experience acne, however, as they can block your pores.
6. Be mindful of the laundry detergents you use
The laundry detergent you use can also have an effect on your skin's health. Opt for a gentle, fragrance-free detergent, as the fragrant components of the detergent can be transferred onto the skin and cause a rash. For identical reasons, we recommend you stop using fabric softener as well.
7. Watch your diet
Certain foods are known to trigger eczema flareups, too, especially in children. Be mindful of how your body reacts when you consume such foods as dairy, soy and soy products, eggs, and wheat. If you suspect that any of these foods are making your eczema worse, try eliminating it from the diet and see if it helps reduce your symptoms.
In addition, nutritionists recommend eating more anti-inflammatory foods, such as those we listed in the article No More Inflammation With these 10 Food Combos. Since eczema is an inflammatory skin condition, enriching your diet with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and leafy greens can really improve your wellbeing.
8. Avoid certain fabrics and clothing fits
Wearing tight-fitting clothing when you're having eczema can make your skin itchier and can lead to skin infections, so wear loose-fitting clothing in the affected areas of the skin. Certain fabrics can also lead to eczema flareups. Wool is the most notorious offender, but fabrics that don't allow the skin to breathe, like polyester, are also best avoided.
Extra tip: for some people, nickel can also cause skin rashes. If you notice that your skin is becoming red and inflamed around the fingers, the neck, and behind the ears, it may be due to the jewelry you're wearing.
9. Extreme temperatures are your enemy
Climate is the last topic we will cover in this article. Unfortunately, eczema-prone skin is significantly more sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature, and traveling or going outside when it's cold or hot outside can easily lead to a rash. This is exactly why most people tend to experience flareups during the winter when the weather is cold outside and the central heating is drying out the air indoors.
Bundle up, wear a scarf and gloves when you go outside to prevent a rash from appearing on your hands, neck, and face. At the same time, try not to sit next to a heater or radiator to avoid dry air. Many eczema sufferers swear by an indoor air humidifier in the cold months, but you can easily just put a wet towel near the radiator to get a similar effect in a pinch, too.
Share these tips and skin remedies with those who will appreciate them!