With National Eczema Week taking place 13 - 18 September, we wanted to share our top tips to help eczema sufferers care for their skin. Dr Jennifer Crawley, a certified dermatologist has answered some of the most common questions asked to her, when it comes to handling eczema flare-ups. As we move into the autumn and winter months, for many people, eczema flare ups become more common, which lead to sore and irritated skin. This can be down to the change in the atmosphere, the change in the weather or even the change in what we eat and drink. Dr Jennifer believes eczema can be managed effectively at home, when the correct precautions and steps are taken.
Below are some of her top tips on handling, preventing and avoiding those eczema triggers.
Dr Jennifer's Tips: How can you handle eczema flare ups?
“To prevent flare ups with sensitive skin in autumn: moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Prevention is always the best method when it comes to skin sensitivity, so ensure you’re taking good care of yourself with a consistent and thorough skincare regimen.”
“My top tip to combat dryness and areas of dry skin is to ensure you nourish and hydrate your skin with moisturiser. Pay special to the hands, but also the lips and feet.”
Should I be using lotions, creams or ointments to help my eczema?
“Some skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis, can flare up in autumn and winter. For dry and eczema prone skin, the thicker the product the better it is for providing soothing and moisturising results.”
“For example, cream is thicker than lotion and ointments are thicker than creams. In summer, we require lighter products and less oils on our skin, but autumn is the time to start reintroducing thicker alternatives in order to combat the harsher weather - which tend to dry the skin out. Don’t forget to pay special attention to lips, hands and feet as they are more exposed to the elements.”
What ingredients should I avoid?
“The more natural the ingredients, the better - especially if you suffer from sensitive skin. Avoid anything that mentions that it has SLS or parabens in as these can cause irritation to the skin.
Brands such as Childs Farm (for children) and Farmologie (for adults) are full of naturally derived ingredients such as oats and Shea and cocoa butter have been proven to help soothe our skin and are dermatologist approved. They are also cruelty free and suitable for Vegans - what’s not to love.”
I’ve noticed my eczema has worsened with the increased need for washing due to Covid-19
“This has been one of the major drawbacks to the increased need of handwashing this year - but by using a really good hand moisturiser, at least three times a day - and before you go to sleep - will give your hands time to heal.”
How often should I moisturise?
“In short every day. You should ensure all of your products are natural and hydrating, including shampoos and conditioners. While we don’t always think about our scalp as being sensitive, the skin is one organ and we must treat it as such. If you find that using very thick cream all over your body is too much, you can use one for every day / every other day, and one for problem areas.”
When should I see a Doctor about my eczema?
“Eczema can be managed quite effectively at home - prevention is always better than trying to cure a flare-up! If you find that your skin becomes red and inflamed, despite following all the prevention measures, it’s important to seek out medical advice from your GP.”
How can I prevent future flare ups?
“It’s not always possible to prevent an eczema flare up, but it is so important to care for your skin throughout the whole year and not just to mitigate the rash. My ten top tips are:
Other top tips:
Protect and hydrate: As the seasons and weather start to change, it’s important to protect your skin from cold and damp conditions, and for those who suffer severe outbreaks during colder months, it’s even more important to moisturise frequently. So ensure you choose a product that has natural ingredients and won’t cause more irritation. It’s also important to remember to apply an instantly hydrating moisturiser to your hands and body before going outside to nourish and protect your skin - red cheeks don’t mean it’s cold, it means the skin is getting dehydrated, which can cause more irritation.
Wash and Moisturise: skin on our hands are more prone to dryness and eczema, and with the increased need to wash our hands, due to COVID19, many little and big hands are seeing increased flare ups and painful sores. So moisturise often, especially after you or your little one washes their hands. Our top tip? Wash, Dry, Moisturise for 20 seconds each to rehydrate and protect the skin and help protect the skin and help prevent cracked hands and the risk of infection.
Bath time: With the autumn and winter months comes the temptation for an indulgent, hot bubble bath to warm yourself up. However, hot baths are very dehydrating, so run them warm but not hot, and keep them short for your little one. Use a soothing body wash and apply an instantly hydrating moisturiser within five minutes of getting out to lock in the moisture.