Eczema refers to a group of conditions that trigger the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. In general, it has 8 types:
- Hand eczema
- Contact dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Dishydrotic eczema
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Nummular eczema
- Stasis dermatitis
- Lichen simplex chronicus
Eczema is common. In fact, around 30 million Americans struggle with some form of eczema.
Babies commonly develop it, particularly on their face. The condition tends to go away as they age.
There are, however, kids who continue to experience eczema as they age. Adults can also develop it, even if they never had it during their childhood.
Despite how common eczema is, it’s not contagious. You can’t get it from someone just by getting in contact with his skin.
Researchers believe that eczema is a result of genetic and environmental factors.
People who have a family history of asthma and other allergies are more prone to developing the condition. A defect in your skin’s barrier can also predispose you to eczema.
In some people, eczema flareups can happen when they get in contact with certain substances or when they get exposed to certain conditions. Stress can also make eczema worse.
The symptoms of eczema aren’t the same for everyone. In general, however, the condition usually starts with itching.
This itching can be mild, moderate or severe. In some cases, the itch can get really bad that you end up with inflamed skin.
Some people find the itch too hard to resist that they scratch their skin until it bleeds. This eventually leads to an endless cycle of itching and scratching.
Apart from those signs, people with eczema also experience the following:
- Dry skin
- Increased skin sensitivity
- Inflamed skin
- Dark, scaly patches on the skin
Skin Care Routine For Eczema
Your skin care routine can either soothe your eczema or make it worse. For this reasons, it’s essential that you pay real close attention to the products you use and how you are using them
If you are unsure where to begin, here’s a step-by-step guide in caring for eczema.
Step 1: Cleanse
A face cleanser is a staple item in anyone’s skin care routine and that includes sensitive skin. However, since your skin is extra delicate, you need to use face washes that are gentle yet effective enough to remove impurities from your skin.
As much as possible, stick with non-soap cleansers because they don’t usually have sodium lauryl sulfate. This ingredient is what causes most cleansers’ foaming action which can irritate the skin.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Exfoliation isn’t completely recommended for people with eczema. But, if you do want to buff off dead skin cells, stay away from products that will scrape the skin off.
This includes pumices and dry brushes.
Instead, pick a gentle exfoliating tool.
Loofahs are great, but they can spell bad news to your skin. They can attract attract bacteria which can get into your compromised pores.
You can also use products with gentle exfoliating ingredients, such as alpha hydroxy acid. This ingredient doesn’t exfoliate the skin by removing dead skin cells .
Instead, it promotes cellular turnover.
Step 3: Tone
Primarily, toners work by removing any makeup and dirt residues on your skin without stripping off its oils. This is an essential step in making sure your skin gets to absorb the creams and moisturizers you’re going to apply after.
Apart from that, toners can also help bring back your skin’s normal pH which is essential both for protecting the skin and making its texture more even.
The right type of toner for you will depend on your skin type. However, as a general rule, your toner should be free from alcohol, parabens and fragrances.
Step 4: Using serums
It’s perfectly fine for you to add a serum in your skin care routine. But, make sure that the one you’ll be using is gentle enough for your delicate skin.
You can use serums with vitamins and essential oils. You can also use one formulated with niacinamide as people with eczema often doesn’t have enough of it.
One warning, though.
Even if a serum is marketed to be safe for sensitive skin, you should still consider your skin’s reaction. Test the product first and if you see any signs of irritation, redness or itching, stop using it right away.
Step 5: Moisturize
Moisturizing is the most important step of your skin care routine. The right moisturizer for your skin type creates a barrier to protect the skin, locks in moisture and keeps the skin hydrated to make it less likely to flake.
Two of the most beneficial ingredients in moisturizers you should look out for are petrolatum and ceramides.
Petrolatum is readily available and inexpensive. However, it tends to be greasy on the skin which can be annoying, especially if you’ll be wearing it during daytime.
Ceramides, on the other hand, can help in moisturizing and softening the cells in the outer layer of the skin. They are great in repairing damage and in restoring the skin’s barrier.
Ideally, you should apply your moisturizer at least once a day. Your skin might benefit from twice a day application, particularly if your skin is extra dry.
Apply your moisturizer right after taking a bath or cleansing your face. Moisturizers work best when applied on damp skin to seal in more moisture.
Step 6: Use sunscreen ]
A lot of people with eczema forego sunscreens in fear of triggering flareups. If you are one of these people, know that you don’t really have to skip an important anti-aging product just because you have sensitive skin.
The key is in finding the right sunscreen that will work for your skin type. For your sensitive skin, stay away from sunscreens with harsh ingredients.
Chemical-based sunscreens are a no-no, too. They have ingredients that can penetrate the deeper layers of the skin and this can trigger irritation.
Instead, go with physical sunscreens. Their ingredients sit on top of the skin to reflect the sun’s harmful rays before they can do any damage to your skin.