Eczema is a common condition that causes skin inflammation and irritation. About 3% of adults and children have eczema. While nobody is completely sure what causes the condition, many believe it is a symptom of our immune systems overreacting to a certain irritant.
While there is no cure, there are many treatments for eczema. One increasingly popular option is UV light therapy, which can be self-administered at home using a small handheld device. The portable machine emits ultraviolet (UV) light to decrease the local immune system. Handheld phototherapy devices are synced with a smartphone, and the dosing can be completely customized depending on the type of treatment that is required. Combining at-home phototherapy with other therapies may increase the effectiveness of treatment and allow for lower doses of other medications.
A dermatologist can monitor the treatment and decide how much UV light therapy a patient needs.
Other treatment options include medication and relaxation techniques. Many people with eczema also switch to “sensitive” versions of household and personal care products, including moisturizers.
Moisturizing is a necessity because it protects the skin’s outermost layer, which is damaged in people with eczema. As a result, this skin is more sensitive and struggles to retain water, two factors that make eczema-prone skin even more likely to flare up.
Here’s how to properly moisturize your skin if you have eczema:
Pick the Right Product
When it comes to moisturizers, not all products are created equal… especially if you have eczema-prone skin.
It is best to avoid anything with added fragrances or dyes. Such additives can be irritating for those who have eczema.
You’ll also want to make sure you choose a powerful moisturizer. Different moisturizers contain different amounts of oil. Generally speaking, a greasy moisturizer with more oil is better for people with eczema. These are typically called ointments and creams, instead of lotions. They are quite good at sealing in moisture and protecting your skin from irritants.
Choosing a moisturizer is not always simple, but the National Eczema Foundation has done some of the research for you. You can find their seal of acceptance on products at your pharmacy, or search its database online.
When trying a product for the first time, it is recommended to use a tiny amount on your wrist or elbow. Keeping an eye on your skin for any type of allergic reaction can ensure that your skin is not irritated by the product that you have chosen.
Apply It at the Right Times
The most important time to moisturize is immediately following exposure to water. Within a few minutes of a shower or bath, you should apply a thick layer of ointment or cream to your skin. You can work the cream in your hands and then apply it using your palms in a downward motion. You should also try to moisturize your hands after washing them, doing the dishes, bathing your children or any other time they are exposed to water.
If you use a special topical medication for your eczema, you should apply it before moisturizing. Your dermatologist can help you design an effective and safe moisturizing routine.
Dealing with eczema can be bothersome if you don’t have the right tools. Luckily, there are many at-home treatments that can be used to alleviate the symptoms. Using phototherapy and making sure to keep your skin moisturized can go a long way in keeping flare ups at bay.