Top Tips for Eczema-Prone Skin
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become dry, inflamed, flaky and itchy. The most common form of eczema is atopic eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. In severe cases, the skin can crack, weep and even bleed. Whilst the exact cause of eczema is unknown, evidence has shown that there is an issue with the skin barrier function.
As this is a medical condition, we would always advise you to refer to a dermatologist or trusted medical professional for assistance. However, to help you to care for your skin and reduce flare-ups, here are our top tips:
- Keep your routine gentle and simple – cleanse, hydrating serum, moisturiser, SPF. An occlusive* moisturiser will be beneficial to help lock in hydration. Occlusive ingredients include petrolatum, silicones, waxes (such as beeswax), and most oils and butters.
- Strengthen your skin’s barrier with gentle ingredients such as ceramides, centella asiatica (cica), cholesterol, beta-glucan and sodium PCA. A ceramide-rich moisturiser such as CeraVe Moisturising Cream is a great choice.
- Press and pat creams into the skin rather than rubbing. This is to avoid unnecessary friction which can further irritate the skin.
- Avoid long, hot showers and always wash your face at the sink with lukewarm water.
- For particularly dry or rough patches, layer occlusive balms and ointments over the top of your moisturiser to provide extra nourishment and lock in hydration. Some great options are La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume and Eucerin Aquaphor Balm.
- Opt for fragrance-free skincare, laundry detergents and fabric softeners which could lead to irritation.
- You may have been led to believe that natural skincare is better for eczema-prone skin. However, be mindful that many ‘natural’ skincare products use essential oils to fragrance their formulas which can be irritating for some.
- Avoid applying perfume directly to your skin. Spritz onto clothing instead.
- Omega 3 oils can be excellent for skin prone to eczema as they help to strengthen the skin barrier. Sources of omegas are oily fish, nuts and seeds. You may also wish to supplement if you are unable to get it from your diet.
- Avoid manual exfoliation. PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) are a great choice for dry, sensitive skin.
- Soft fabrics such as cotton can help avoid unnecessary friction. Avoid wool which can exacerbate itchiness.
- Get to know your triggers so you can work to mitigate them. Symptoms of eczema can fluctuate; you may notice that you experience flare-ups at certain times of the year or during particular periods in your life. For example, during the winter or when you are exceptionally stressed.
*occlusive - moisturising agents that work by forming a protective layer over the surface of your skin, creating a barrier to prevent moisture loss.