What to do if you're itching for relief from eczema
They can help when you have a flare-up
If you have eczema, you know that the condition tends to recur with periods of flare-ups and remissions.
While antihistamines and topical steroid creams are the cornerstone of treatment for eczema, there is no cure.
With October being Eczema Awareness Month, you can ease the irritation and manage the patches with the right products and by making lifestyle changes.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELIEF
Finding a moisturiser that does its job without aggravating or stinging the skin is no mean feat. While severe cases of eczema would require steroid creams, milder cases can be controlled with an off-the-counter moisturiser that moisturises gently and effectively.
Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and paraben-free, the newly-rebranded Cetaphil PRO AD Derma Skin Restoring Body Wash and Skin Restoring Body Moisturizer is the first skincare range with Filaggrin technology to hydrate, strengthen and restore the skin barrier function.
The former also boasts Miracare technology to deliver nourishing oils and long-lasting moisturisation in a rich foam, while the latter's ceramide technology helps to increase and retain moisture in the skin.
Dr Rachael Teo, consultant-dermatologist at The Dermatology Practice @ Gleneagles, said: "One of the key issues in eczema is a disrupted skin barrier, which affects the skin's ability to retain moisture leading to dryness and itch. A defective barrier also allows allergens and bacteria to enter the skin more easily and lead to an immune response leading to inflammation.
"So, the key factor in effective management of eczema will be restoration of the normal skin barrier function."
Taking short daily baths in warm water is one of the most effective ways to deliver moisture to dry skin. Soak in one then moisturise immediately afterwards. You can help to soothe specific symptoms of eczema by adding vinegar, coconut oil or oatmeal to your bath water.
Dr Teo also suggests avoiding triggers or irritants to manage eczema effectively.
She said: "In general, they include extremes of weather and contact with rough clothing materials such as wool."
A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology conducted by researchers employed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals found that eczema is an autoimmune disease that happens when your body turns on its own cells and attacks itself.
More often than not, autoimmune diseases starts in the gut. To get to the root of the problem, consider replenishing your gut with some good bacteria.
One way is to drink kefir, a tangy, mildly carbonated, fermented milk that will repopulate your gut with microbiotics and help with anxiety and depression by boosting mood.
Also, when applied topically, kefir balances the bacteria on the surface of the skin and provides a natural eczema treatment.
Fend off free radical damage with dietary supplements. One ingredient you want to look out for is a potent antioxidant such as glutathione, which helps to inhibit inflammation and slow down melanin production for a visibly brighter visage.
This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on Her World Online (www.HerWorld.com)