For many eczema sufferers, the worst thing about the condition is that there really isn’t a ‘cure’. The painful, dry, itchy, sometimes cracked skin becomes a horrible part of your life that you simply have to learn to live with.
But just because there’s no cure, doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to prevent and/or relieve your symptoms.
When doing your laundry, always use non-biological formulas, or consider a natural alternative such as soap nuts. Avoid fabric conditioners as they’re really just added chemicals – if you want fresh, fragrant laundry, try adding a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil to the load instead. Also, give your washing an extra rinse at the end of the cycle to remove as much traces of detergent as possible to keep those irritants away from your skin.
Choose clothes that are made from natural fabric that allow your skin to breathe. Avoid synthetic fibres at all costs, and in general, steer clear from anything too heavy or binding. Several light layers you can adjust accroding to temperatures are a better option for sensitive skin.
Tailor Your Bath & Bed Time
For those with airborne allergies, bathing twice a day can be a massive relief – however other forms of eczema can in fact be irritated further by water, so work out what works best for you or your child and stick to it. (Especially in the case of children, a weekly bath and simply ‘topping and tailing’ morning and night may suffice.) Whatever the case, be sure to moisturise like crazy every day to lock as much precious moisture into your skin as possible.
Choose only 100% cotton bedding, and be sure to wash it at least once a week at 60 degrees to kill off dustmites. Keep your fingernails short (that goes for adults as well as kids!) to avoid unknowingly scratching during the night.
If your little one can’t sleep without a favourite stuffed animal, pop it in a freezer bag and freeze overnight then wash and dry to kill off dustmites. (Top tip – buy two of the same cuddly toy so you can make the switch without tears!)
Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise!
It really is the best, most important thing you can do for your skin. Sadly there is no ‘one size fits all’ moisturiser (you may even find you need two different types – one for everyday use, and one for extreme breakouts), so it really is a case of trial and error to find your perfect cream. Once you do, stock up, and use it as often as possible. For children, get into the habit of applying at every nappy change. For yourself, use before you get dressed in the morning and before you go to bed at night. keep a small bottle in your bag too, so that you always have it to hand in case of a flare up during the day.
Know when to ask for help.
As much as we believe that it’s possible to control your eczema yourself, it’s equally important to know when you should seek help from your doctor. Knowing your own skin is essential, and as soon as anything looks or feels different, especially if the skin is broken, bleeding or weeping and there is a chance of infection, you should contact your GP immediately.
If you feel your own or your child’s eczema is not responding to treatment, so ask for a referral to a dermatologist. It’s not always easy to get referred to a specialist, so read up on the NICE guidelines and keep going until you have success!
Is there anything you’ve found that really helps prevent or treat an eczema breakout? Let us know in the comments & you could help someone else ease their suffering!