Living with eczema is not always easy. While eczema affects people differently, some basic skincare habits can help relieve symptoms and prevent further flare ups. To help manage eczema, ChitoCare beauty outlines three core practices that should be part of a skincare routine for eczema-prone skin.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that can flare up when one is exposed to certain environmental triggers. It most often appears in people who have an over-reactive immune system, resulting in a damaged skin barrier. When triggered, the body responds with inflammation. This can cause a variety of symptoms, most typically causing the skin to become dry, red, sore, or itchy, sometimes even resulting in painful or cracked skin.
Eczema triggers and symptoms
Many things can trigger a person’s eczema. From dry skin, sweat, stress and hormone changes, to climate, weather and environmental allergens, such as pollen or molds. Chemicals found in common household products can also cause irritation, as can certain foods and beverages. In addition, the constant disinfecting and hand-washing associated with the recent Covid-19 pandemic has caused eczema cases to increase.
As there is currently no cure for eczema and it can disappear and reappear throughout a person’s lifetime, learning to identify triggers and manage flare ups becomes a routine affair for people living with this skin condition. Even though there are seven different types of eczema, each one with its own set of triggers, symptoms and treatments, all eczema types can benefit from certain skincare habits. These can help soothe flare ups, treat the skin to prevent further exacerbation, and make life with eczema more manageable.
Depending on the type of eczema, the frequency and severity of the symptoms, a dermatologist or eczema specialist will develop a treatment designed to help with each individual case of eczema. Lifestyle adjustments, prescription medication, phototherapy, and over the counter (OTC) remedies are just some things that can help prevent or treat symptoms.
Skincare routine for eczema-prone skin
For most types of eczema, managing it comes down to the following core fundamentals: knowing one's triggers, following a regular bathing, moisturizing and treatment routine, and watching for signs of infection to prevent exacerbation. Irrelevant of eczema type, all eczema skincare regimes typically include the following three practices: cleaning, moisturizing, treating.
Cleansing is the first step in the routine. Dermatologists recommend bathing in lukewarm, but not hot, water for 5 to 10 minutes at least once per day. At night before bedtime is their suggested time for cleaning, as the skin will more likely absorb moisture and go into repair mode during sleep. Use a mild cleanser with a low pH (below 5.5) that is free of added fragrances and dyes or with a very mild scent, as these can irritate the skin further.
Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the affected area with a loofah or sponge, as this too can make eczema worse. It can strip your skin of essential lipids and damage your already delicate protective skin barrier. Furthermore, you may end up removing new skin growth or cause the skin to crack, that could in turn let in bacteria and get infected. So be gentle when cleansing.
This is perhaps the most crucial part of an eczema-prone skin care routine and requires special attention. After bathing or showering, use a soft towel to pat-dry your skin, leaving it slightly damp. This is an important detail, as it will help your skin absorb moisture better. You must apply moisturizer within three minutes of bathing. This is what experts call “soak and seal” and is a necessary part of moisturizing when living with eczema. When you apply moisturizer to damp skin within three minutes of bathing, your skin absorbs active ingredients better, while the oils it contains help seal in water, keeping it hydrated.
Liberally apply the moisturizer to the whole body, not just the areas affected by eczema. Some people use a clean spoon to scoop out the cream to avoid contamination. ChitoCare beauty Body Lotion comes in a handy tube and has been used for sensitive and problem skin with great results. A small quantity is easily spread across dry skin to moisturize and protect it. Apply moisturizer with your palms, spreading it lightly without pressure, using downward strokes. Wait for a few minutes for the skin to fully absorb the moisturizer before applying further medication.
Specialists recommend applying moisturizer at least twice a day, even during periods when your eczema seems under control. For the sensitive skin of the face, ChitoCare beauty Anti-Aging Repair Serum and Face Cream can be used daily, both morning and night. They improve hydration, protect the skin by forming a defensive film and support the natural repair process of the skin.
Many people carry a small moisturizer with them when out and about, so they can apply to affected areas whenever the skin starts to feel dry, sore, or itchy. ChitoCare beauty Body Lotion is also available in a 50 ml tube, conveniently fitting in one’s handbag or backpack. ChitoCare beauty Hand Cream also helps to moisturize hands every time after washing or disinfecting. The marine chitosan it contains will help protect the skin, binding important cream nutrients and delivering them with a longer lasting effect, offering excellent moisture control.
For topical care of skin with eczema, ChitoCare medical Wound Healing Gel can be applied to any skin area or wound, forming a thin, transparent and breathable film. It reduces the symptoms associated with eczema, such as itching and redness, promoting the skin's natural repair process. ChitoCare medical Healing Spray may be preferably used on a larger affected skin area, as a thinner film is formed to protect the skin and enhance its moisture control. It is also a great treatment after sunbathing, to soothe the skin, reduce any redness and protect from further UV damage, thanks to its antioxidant counteracting action on the skin. Additionally, ChitoCare beauty Body Lotion can be applied to increase skin moisture after sunbathing.
After the moisturizer has been fully absorbed by your skin, it is time to treat your skin. Apply topical medication only to the affected areas, and only as prescribed by your doctor in terms of dosage, application and frequency – this is very important. Specialists note that creams and ointments that come in a tube are usually thicker than those in pump-operated packaging and are often more effective, as they have a higher oil content than light lotions. It can help to warm the actual cream between your fingers before application, keeping in mind that different topical treatments may have different methods of application or post-application instructions. Always follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medication. Allow the topical medication to be fully absorbed by the skin before dressing.
Bonus step: sun protection
If you plan on spending time in the sun, it is best to also apply sunscreen with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30. Overexposure to sunlight is the leading cause of premature skin aging, and this also applies to people with eczema. While sunlight can, in some cases, help with eczema symptoms, many people find that the sunburn or sweating associated with spending time in the sun actually makes their eczema worse. Find a sunscreen that is suitable for eczema-prone skin and your particular skin type, and cover up appropriately to remain protected from UVA and UVB rays. ChitoCare medical Healing Spray may also be applied first, to enhance skin protection and moisture control before sunscreen is used. For more tips on handling eczema, read our related article.
* Always speak with a dermatologist or eczema specialist before using new products. If you are unsure about what products to use, or whether ChitoCare products are suitable for you, check with your dermatologist or eczema specialist first. They can suggest a treatment option that is most suitable for your specific eczema type and skin type. Some products may contain mild scents or ingredients that some people may find trigger or irritate their eczema further.