Tips on How to Care for Your Eczema

Limit the amount of contact you have with things that can irritate your skin.

Limit your contact with irritating substances. Some things that may irritate your skin include household cleansers, detergents, aftershave lotions, soap, gasoline, turpentine and other solvents. Try to avoid contact with things that make you break out with eczema. Because soaps and wetness can cause skin irritation, wash your hands only when necessary, especially if you have eczema on your hands. Avoid contact with harsh detergents, solvents and chemicals not intended for use on the skin.

Wear gloves to protect the skin on your hands when you’re doing something that requires you to have your hands in water.

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 cotton gloves under plastic gloves to soak up sweat from your hands. Take breaks and remove your gloves to prevent a build-up of sweat inside your gloves. Wear gloves when you go outside in the winter. Cold air and low humidity can dry your skin, and dryness can make your skin irritation worse.

Wear Merino wool or clothes made of cotton or a cotton blend.

Most people with sensitive skin feel better in clothes made of cotton or a cotton blend.  Superfine Merino wool clothing may be the best choice of clothing based on its greater ability to transfer moisture vapour and heat than other apparel fibres.

Use mild soap when you take a bath or shower.

Bathe only with a mild soap, such as Dove, Basis or Oil of Olay. Use only a little soap when bathing. Keep the water temperature cool or warm, not hot. Soaking in the tub can be good for your skin, since it can help the skin’s outer layer to absorb water and become less dry. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes, then use a soft towel to pat dry without rubbing. Immediately after drying, apply a moisturizer to your skin. This helps seal in the moisture.

Use medicine your doctor has prescribed for you if your eczema gets worse.

When your eczema flares up (gets worse), use the medicine prescribed by your doctor. Use it right after bathing. Medicine used to treat eczema is usually a steroid medicine. You rub the medicine on your skin twice a day for two to three weeks. Call your doctor if your skin does not get better after three weeks of using the medicine.

Use a moisturizer on your skin every day.

Moisturizers help keep your skin soft and flexible. They prevent skin cracks. A plain moisturizer is best. Avoid moisturizers with fragrances (perfume) and a lot of extra ingredients. A good, cheap moisturizer is plain petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Use moisturizers that are more greasy than creamy, because creams usually have more preservatives in them. Regular use of a moisturizer can help prevent the dry skin that is common in winter, when the air is cold and dry.

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.  Instead apply pressure or use ice.

Avoid getting too hot and sweaty.

Too much heat and sweat can make your skin more irritated and itchy. Try to avoid activities that make you hot and sweaty.

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. Changing your activities to reduce daily stress can also be helpful.

Once Your Skin Has Healed

Continue careful skin care. Use a moisturizer at least twice a day. After healing, the area where you had the irritation may get irritated again easily. It needs special care.

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