Eczema– Sensitive Skin, Part 4

What do Kate Middleton, Nicole Kidman and Brad  Pitt have in common? 

 In addition to being  gorgeous, they all have  to deal with eczema.  And they  are hardly alone.  It is estimated that  1 in 10 people  have experienced  eczema  at some point  in their lives.

The red, scaly, dry, itchy  patches of eczema  are due to  an immune system gone wild.  While the exact mechanism is  not  completely clear,  eczema seems to  run in families,  especially where there is a history of allergies and/or asthma. Eczema usually appears on the scalp, neck, inside the elbows and behind the knees.   Once there is a tendancy for eczema,  lifestyle factors can trigger an outbreak or  make it worse.  These triggers include stress, excessive heat and cold, detergents, allergies and perhaps diet.   

Treatment of Eczema

Getting eczema under control  starts with controlling the exessive dryness.  Its important to  avoid  detergent cleansers, exfoliating scrubs and especially fragrances.   Start by  avoiding  hot baths and showers which can increase  both itching and  dryness.   Some  experts recommend limiting all showers while others  prescribe  cool baths followed immediately by industrial strength moisturizers.  The Mayo Clinic warns against daily baths  while the American Academy of Dermatology suggest 3 short cool baths a day followed  by moisturizer.  I suspect that that people have different responses and  you will  need to figure out yourself which  shower approach works best   for  you.

Choose a   super rich, fragrance-free, water-free moisturizer such as Aquaphor.  If  the product    reminds you of Crisco, you’re on the right track.   Put it on, wait until it absorbs then put it on again.   Antihistamines( like Benedryl)  will reduce  the itching  while antibiotic creams ( like Neosporin)  can be used  if scratching  has  caused an infection.  If the redness and flaking persist  steroid creams can be used to bring it under control.    Sometimes a combo of a cortisone and antibiotic cream   works beautifully  to control both inflammation and infection.

Since cortisone  is used for short periods of time and eczema can be  chronic, two newer  anti-inflammatory agents, Elidel and Protopic  are often prescribed for daily care– but not without controversy.  THe FDA  has  put a black box warning on these  medication for possible  cancer risk but  many professional healthcare organizations  disagree with the FDA findings.  It’s  troubling when  doctors don’t agree about  caues and cures, but its  a matter of opinion, not  right and wrong.

There is no one size fits all solution  to keeping eczema under control.  Start  with the simplest options ( eg gentle cleansers, cool showers and rich moisturizers)  and add other treatents as necessary.  You might need to mix and match options including steroid creams, Benedryl, antibiotic creams and different soaps and moisturizers to  find the winning combination.  Treating eczema is a marathon, not a sprint.

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4 thoughts on “Eczema– Sensitive Skin, Part 4

  1. I had no idea these three people had eczema. I found that gluten caused my eczema. When I cut gluten containing foods out of my diet, my eczema went away.

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  3. Pingback: Is Micellar Water As Good As They Say? - No Nonsense Beauty BlogNo Nonsense Beauty Blog

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