EczemaEczema is a skin ailment that produces itchy red patches and bumps on the body. In children, it often affects the insides of the elbows and the backs of the knees. In adults, eczema can appear on the torso, around the neck or anywhere else. Different types of eczema are caused or triggered by hereditary factors, an arid environment, and allergic reactions or irritations to harsh chemicals and detergents.
Skin with eczema is particularly sensitive to drying out. The process of water evaporating off of skin removes moisture from its surface, exacerbating this condition. The best way to prevent this loss is to seal in the moisture with a emollient cream. Wool clothing, perfumes, and additives in certain laundry detergents and soap can also trigger or aggravate symptoms.
Some children with eczema may grow out of it by adolescence. Adult Eczema does not have a cure, and the best way to prevent future outbreaks is to turn these guidelines into lifelong habits.
• Use a mild cleanser that does not have fragrance or perfumes. Try Cetaphil Liquid Cleanser, or Dr. Jessica Wu CosmeceuticalsTM Gentle Foaming Cleanser. Avoid drying or deodorant soaps such as Zest, Irish Spring, or Lever 2000.
• Try to keep baths and showers down to a minimum. One per day should be your limit. Don’t stay in for an extraordinary length of time and don’t make the water very hot. Pat dry, don’t rub.
• Moisturizing your skin is the best thing you can ever do for it. The thicker the moisturizer, the better. As always, look for fragrance-free products, like Dr. Jessica Wu CosmeceuticalsTM Dew Cream.
• Always apply moisturizer right after a bath or shower, while skin still has a little water on it. This will seal in the moisture. Apply moisturizer as often as possible in addition to this—two times a day or more — and before bedtime.
• If the itching and rash persist despite the above measures, your dermatologist may prescribe a prescription-strength medication.