Eczema is a general term for rash-like skin conditions. The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction. Eczema is often very itchy and when you scratch it, the skin becomes red and inflamed. It occurs in adults and children, but most often appears on babies. You are more likely to have eczema if you have a family history of the condition.
Although the exact cause is unknown, eczema is not contagious. Eczema can’t be cured, but it can be managed, and you can learn to avoid the things that trigger it.
Limit your contact with things that can irritate your skin.
Some things that may irritate your skin include household cleansers, aftershave lotions, soap, chemical based skin care products and detergents.
Wear gloves to protect the skin on your hands.
Wear vinyl or plastic gloves for work that requires you to have your hands in water. Also, wear gloves when your hands will be exposed to anything that can irritate your skin.
Wear clothes made of cotton or a cotton blend.
Wool and some synthetic fabrics can irritate your skin. Most people with sensitive skin feel better in clothes made of cotton or a cotton blend.
Care for your skin in the bath or shower.
Bathe only with a mild, natural soap, goats milk soap has shown to be good. Use a small amount of soap when bathing. Keep the water temperature cool or warm, not hot. Soaking in the tub for a short time can be good for your skin because the skin’s outer layer can absorb water and become less dry. Add 1/2 cup of bicarb of soda to the bath and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Then use a soft towel to pat your skin dry without rubbing. Immediately after drying, apply a natural moisturiser to your skin. This helps seal in the moisture.
Use a moisturiser on your skin every day.
Moisturisers help keep your skin soft and flexible. They prevent skin cracks. A natural moisturiser is best. Avoid moisturisers with fragrances (perfume) and a lot of extra ingredients.
Regular use of a moisturiser can help prevent the dry skin that is common in winter.
Avoid scratching or rubbing the itchy area.
Try not to scratch the irritated area on your skin even if it itches. Scratching can break the skin. Bacteria can enter these breaks and cause infection. Moisturising your skin will help prevent itchiness.
Learn how to manage stress in your life.
Eczema can flare up when you are under stress. Learn how to recognize and cope with stress. Stress reduction techniques can help.