Approximately 20% of the population has eczema, according to the Eczema Society of Canada. Typically people develop the condition as a child. While it is possible to resolve it, it often sticks around into adulthood.
Eczema can be mild to severe. It is characterized by itchiness, irritation, inflammation, and susceptibility to infection. It can cause dry, cracked and bleeding skin.
While there is no cure, there are treatments to manage it and minimize the impact on your life.
Keeping your skin very well moisturized is a must. Also avoid detergents, harsh chemicals, long hot baths and too much sun exposure.
Keep your shower to about 5-10 minutes in warm water. Immediately after your shower, pat yourself dry with a soft towel and use a rich moisturizer. Avoid irritation by going fragrance-free in soaps and detergents.
Use a humidifier to help quench thirst at night.
Avoid scratching – it can create sores, increase the risk of infection and even make the area itchier.
Doctors will also prescribe topical medications including corticosteroids (steroids) and topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs).
It is important that you do not ignore eczema and neglect proper care. Your skin will become more and more irritated and your risk for infection increases.
Buy moisturizers that will soften the skin and provide a thicker barrier of protection. Look for a product with few ingredients – the more chemicals, the worse for your skin.
Breakouts can be caused by environmental factors or triggers – like clothing, soaps, dust, carpet fibers and more. Sometimes there is no apparent cause for a breakout of eczema. Being too hot, sweating a lot, low humidity or food can also bring a flare up on.
Working with a dermatologist is the safest way to ensure the best care and best results in controlling your eczema.