Jen from Buried With Children is back today with tips and tricks on how to treat excema at home. If you or your kids suffer from itchy, scratchy, irritated skin, this post is a definite must read.
To submit your questions to Jen, our resident expert on health, be sure to visit the SITS Girls Forum.
Itchy, itchy. Scratch, scratch. “Mom! My skin is all itchy, make it stop.”
This is something that I commonly hear from my oldest child, Hayden. He suffers from eczema and has since he was a small baby.
And based on the question that occurred in the SITS forums on this subject, I know that I am not the only mommy that hears this from her kids. Itchy, scratchy skin is something many of you are dealing with too.
Eczema is a term that refers to a variety of conditions where the skin becomes reddened, inflamed and itchy. the most common type of eczema is called Atopic Dermatitis (atopic meaning an inherited tendency to develop allergic disorders and dermatitis meaning inflamed, reddened, sore skin.)
People who suffer from eczema lack a protein in their genetic make up that allows the skin to keep moisture in it. so when exposed to an allergen trigger, the person will develop itchy, inflamed, reddened and sometimes painful spots on their skin.
Eczema is actually most common in children who will usually out grow the symptoms. the disorder especially runs in families with a history of suffering from asthma, seasonal allergies and eczema.
One of the best ways to treat eczema is to stop it before it starts. this is why prevention is best. Besides allergen triggers, the thing that can make eczema worse is dry skin. Since eczema sufferers have skin that has a difficult time retaining moisture, it is important to replace that moisture.
One of the primary causes of dry skin is living in a dry climate — for example, in the winter where I live it gets really, really dry. There is a decease in humidity in the air, which can lead to dry skin. another major cause of eczema is over exposure to water by either bathing too often with drying, harsh soaps or swimming.
To prevent flare ups of eczema, the simplest things you can do is get a humidifier for your house to replace moisture in the air and apply creams and lotions that will replace the skin’s moisture and protect the skin.
Now, there are a lot of lotions and creams on the market. Heck, in our grocery stores there are aisles and aisles lined with bottles and bottles of creams. so which one do you choose?
You want a mild, non-scented, dye and perfume free moisturizer that is, most importantly, alcohol free. Most moisturizers are made with alcohol, which is actually terrible for the eczema patient’s skin because it will dry it out more. Some good choices include: Cetaphil Cream and Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream. the one I personally found works well is Aveeno Eczema Therapy. These creams should be used immediately after exposure to water or once a day and more often as needed.
It is also important to use soaps and cleansers that are mild and free of dyes and perfumes.
To treat those red, patchy areas on the skin, a steroid cream is usually needed. Over the counter creams can work, but often, something more is needed. That’s why it’s important to work with your family doctor and, if possible, get a referral to see a dermatologist who can prescribe more effective creams.
As I said earlier, the cause of eczema is two fold: an inability to retain moisture and allergens. Eczema flare ups are usually caused by some sort of allergen trigger from the environment. the trick is to find out what that trigger is and get rid of it. it could be something the person or child is eating, the family pet, a certain flower in your garden or the carpet in your house. this is where working with your family physician and/or dermatologist can be very helpful. If needed, they can perform allergy testing and possibly add medication that can lower the amount of histamine (a chemical produced when exposed to an allergen) the body produces.
In summary, preventive care and getting rid of possible allergens is usually the best way to keep the itchy eczema symptoms at bay. But if this is not working, seeing a dermatologist is probably that next best step.
Here is a short list of things you can do to help control you or your child’s environmental triggers:
This treatment has worked at keeping my son’s eczema under control for me. I urge you to talk to your doctor about these things and, if possible, to try some of these tips. What do you have to lose beside dry, itchy, painful skin?
Eczema comes in various levels of severity. this post is by no means meant to tell you how to treat severe eczema. it merely provides helpful home care tips. it is always best to discuss a change in skin care routine or beginning a skin care routine with your personal family physician.
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