Moisturizing is a topic all too familiar for patients with eczema, and for me, a parent of a child with eczema.Â My girl has had eczema from the age of two weeks, and since then for the past three years, moisturizing is a daily regimen and a topic of much contention â€“ for instance, an extended family member would insist that the moisturizer clogs all the pores and causes the eczema (not true) and another friend would insist to use only natural moisturizer (the definition of which is vague and left to individual product company).
So, after three years of reading up on moisturizers, speaking to dermatologists and interviewing experts, here areÂ my top 5 tips for moisturizing skin for eczema sufferers:
Eczema is a skin condition that is characterized by defective skin barrier and moisturizing is important to protect the skin. Moisturizing has been associated with the reduction of the severity of eczema and moisturizing can also reduce the use of topical steroids.
Some patients with eczema may complain that the skin worsens after moisturizing and my recommendation is to take a patch test to determine which ingredients in the skin care products one is allergic to. A good starting point is to choose a moisturizer without the ingredients that have been frequently tested to cause allergic reaction, namely fragrance, parabens, colors/ dyes, preservatives. For the alternative names of these ingredients, Dr Verallo-Rowell has provided a list here in one of the interviews I had with her.
Moisturizers come in tubes, tubs or pumps. Itâ€™s a personal preference which to use and generally, lotion would come in pumps, while creams or ointments in tubes and tubs. Lotion can be applied quicker, absorbed faster but will not be as long-lasting as creams. I tend to avoid packaging in tubs, as it is more open to contamination and if you are â€˜diggingâ€™ into the cream with your fingers (which you should not, a spatula should be used), you would be introducing bacteria into the moisturizer. Our skin has both good and bad bacteria, and one of the bad ones is staphylococcus aureus, that is resistant and can cause infection after penetrating eczema skin.
Another question that is often asked is related to bathing, such as how many times to shower and what water or what cleanser to use. The more important point to note though is to moisturize immediately after shower, and the guideline is to do so within three minutes. Bathing does lead to moisture loss, so the key is to trap that moisture after shower.
For a child, a teenager or an adult, moisturizing can sometimes be frustrating and/or cumbersome and one may be tempted to stop moisturizing once the eczema rashes are not itchy or apparent. This should not be the case, as the skin barrier of an eczema patient is defective and moisturizing keeps it lubricated and protected. Without moisturizing, the skin on its own can be dry and â€˜porousâ€™ which can allow the penetration of irritants and start the itch-scratch cycle.
So, above are the Top 5 Must-Know of moisturizing eczema skin and I do hope that if you have eczema, you have settled down with a moisturizer that works for you and into a comfortable daily skincare routine.
About the Author:
Mei Marcie is a mom to a baby with eczema, and blogs at EczemaBlues.com â€“ a comprehensive and light-hearted resource for parents with children with eczema. She is active in helping eczema families, through starting a national eczema support group, initiating a national eczema financial assistance scheme for the low-income and through her book â€˜A to Z Animals are not Scratching!â€™ that encourages children not to scratch.