Good skin care is an essential part of controlling the itch and rash of eczema and sensitive skin. Proper skin care can reduce flare-ups, decrease the need for medication, and improve response to treatment.
BATHING AND MOISTURIZING REGIME FOR ECZEMA AND DRY SKIN
TAKE AT LEAST ONE BATH OR SHOWER PER DAY.
- Use warm, not hot, water for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Avoid scrubbing your skin with a washcloth.
USE A GENTLE CLEANSING BAR.
- During a severe flare, you may choose to limit the use of cleansers to avoid possible irritation.
WHILE YOU’RE SKIN IS STILL WET (within three minutes of taking a bath or shower)
- Apply any special skin medications prescribed for you and then liberally apply a moisturizer. This will seal in the water and make the skin less dry and itchy.
BE SURE TO APPLY ANY SPECIAL SKIN MEDICATIONS TO AREAS AFFECTED WITH ECZEMA BEFORE MOISTURIZING.
- The most common skin medications used to treat skin inflammation are prescription and non-prescription topical steroids or prescription topical immunomodulators (TIMS). Be sure to use these medications as directed. Remember that TIMS can sting if applied to wet skin, so apply a thin coat to affected areas only.
BE SURE TO APPLY MOISTURIZER ON ALL AREAS OF YOUR SKIN WHETHER IT HAS OR HAS NOT BEEN TREATED WITH MEDICATION.
- Specific occlusive’s or moisturizers may be individually recommended for you.
MOISTURIZERS ARE AVAILABLE IN MANY FORMS.
- Creams and ointments are more beneficial than lotions. Petroleum jelly is a good occlusive preparation to seal in the water; however, since it contains no water it works best after a soaking bath.
WHAT ARE PROPER MOISTURIZING TECHNIQUES?
Just as it is important to use proper bathing techniques, it is important to properly apply moisturizers to your skin within three minutes of showering or bathing.
- While your skin is still wet, apply prescription medications, and then apply a moisturizer to all your skin.
- A thick bland product is best.
- Dispense the moisturizer from large jars with a clean spoon, butter knife, or pump to avoid contamination.
- Take a dollop of moisturizer from the jar, soften it by rubbing it between your hands, and apply it using the palm of your hand stroking in a downward direction.
- Do Not rub by stroking up and down or around in circles.
- Leave a tacky film of moisturizer on your skin; it will be absorbed in a few minutes.
Everyone has different preferences concerning how products feel on their skin, so try different products until you find one that feels comfortable. Continue use of the moisturizer(s) even after the affected area heals to prevent recurrence.
HOW DO I REDUCE MY SKIN IRRITATION?
DON’T SCRATCH OR RUB THE SKIN
- These actions can worsen any itch. Instead, apply a moisturizer whenever the skin feels dry or itchy. A cool gel pack can provide some relief from itch.
WASH ALL NEW CLOTHES BEFORE WEARING THEM.
- This removes formaldehyde and other potentially irritating chemicals which are used during production and packing.
ADD A SECOND RINSE CYCLE TO ENSURE THE REMOVAL OF SOAP IF YOU ARE CONCERNED.
- Use a mild detergent that is dye-free and fragrance-free.
WEAR GARMENTS THAT ALLOW AIR TO PASS FREELY TO YOUR SKIN.
- Open-weave, loose-fitting, cotton-blend clothing may be most comfortable. Avoid wearing wool. Try as much as possible to wear cotton based clothes.
WET WRAP THERAPY CAN EFFECTIVELY REHYDRATE AND CALM THE SKIN.
- Soak in a bath, and then apply moisturizer. Medication should also be applied if currently prescribed. The bandages, moistened in warm water until they are slightly damp, are then wrapped around the area. Dry bandages are wrapped over the wet bandages. In place of bandages, athletic socks, or moistened pajamas worn underneath a set of dry pajamas can be used with children and infants.
WORK AND SLEEP IN COMFORTABLE SURROUNDINGS.
- Try maintaining fairly constant temperature and humidity level. Cooler temperatures are preferred but not so cool as to initiate chilling.
KEEP FINGERNAILS VERY SHORT AND SMOOTH.
- File your nails daily to help prevent damage due to scratching.
MAKE APPROPRIATE USE OF SEDATING ANTIHISTAMINES
- They reduce itching to some degree through their tranquilizing and sedative effects.
USE SUNSCREEN ON A REGULAR BASIS AND ALWAYS AVOID GETTING SUNBURNED
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or higher. Sunscreens made for the face are often less irritating than regular sunscreens. Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide–based products are less irritating. Try using Gel based sunscreens easily available in the market.
GO FOR A SWIM
- Swimming can provide good hydration. Chlorine can also decrease bacteria on the skin that can cause itching or develop into an infection. Of course, residual chlorine or bromine left on the skin after swimming in a pool or hot tub may be irritating, so take a quick shower or bath immediately after swimming, washing with a mild cleanser from head to toe, and then apply an appropriate moisturizer while still wet.