At-Home Tips for Avoiding Eczema Flare-Ups

More than 30 million Americans suffer from eczema, or atopic dermatitis, a chronic skin condition with symptoms that include itching, inflammation, and red, flaky skin. While eczema mostly affects kids, plenty of adults have eczema, too.

Because eczema affects different people in different ways, working with a dermatologist is the best way to relieve symptoms and to keep them at bay. In addition to medical treatment, there are steps you can take to reduce symptoms on your own.

In this post, Edward Stolar, MDTodd Perkins, MD, and Adrianna Gonzales, MD, FAAD, offer these tips to help our patients at Metroderm DC: Medical, Laser, and Aesthetic Dermatology Center manage their eczema and find relief from their uncomfortable symptoms.

Avoid hot baths and showers

Yes, a hot bath or shower can be relaxing, but unfortunately, it can also dry out your skin. Dry skin compromises your skin’s natural moisture barrier, making the skin more prone to irritation and itchy, sore eczema symptoms.

Skip baths in favor of showers, and stick to mild water temperatures for your shower. Stay out of hot tubs and saunas, and limit time in swimming pools. Apply plenty of moisturizer afterward.

Moisturize regularly

Speaking of moisturizer, applying products regularly ensures your skin’s barrier stays intact. Choose a lotion for daytime use and a heavier cream to wear while you sleep. 

Slather it on right after your shower to lock in any moisture that’s still on your skin, and avoid products with fragrance or alcohol to prevent irritation and drying.

Opt for gentle products

Moisturizers aren’t the only products that should be fragrance-free. When selecting soaps, body washes, hair care products, and even laundry detergents, look for products designed especially for sensitive skin. 

If you’re not sure which products to choose, our team can help you decide.

Stay hydrated — inside and out

Your body contains a lot of water; in fact, your skin alone is about two-thirds water. To keep skin healthy and reduce the risk of irritation and inflammation, drink plenty of water throughout the day. 

If your bedroom and other interior spaces have a lot of dry air, add a humidifier to moisten the air.

Avoid extreme temperatures

You may know that the cold Washington, DC, winters can trigger eczema symptoms, but the hot, humid summers can increase itching and irritation, too.

Cold temperatures are often accompanied by drier air, which can make your skin itchy and flaky, while heat causes sweating, which can irritate skin, too. 

In addition to staying in temperature-controlled areas on especially cold or hot days, wear layers of clothing so you can add or remove them to manage your body temperature.

Choose the right clothing

Speaking of wearing layers, pay attention to clothing style and materials. For clothing you wear against your skin, opt for cotton or other soft materials, and avoid wool, which can be itchy. Choose loose-fitting clothing that avoids rubbing and irritation.

Practice stress management

When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, a chemical that plays a central role in your fight-or-flight response. Cortisol also increases the body’s inflammatory response, which in turn triggers eczema symptoms, like itching.

Eczema symptoms can cause stress, too, especially when symptoms make it hard to get regular, restful sleep. To counteract the stress response, practice yoga, meditation, guided imagery, or breathing exercises to prevent stress and the cortisol release it can cause.

The chronic itching and irritation associated with eczema takes a toll on your physical health as well as your emotional well-being. To find a solution that provides the long-lasting relief you’re looking for, call our Washington, DC, office at 202-659-2223 or request an appointment online.

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