Beauty | Lifestyle | Health

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Eczema/Dermatitis - how to manage it

I say how to manage it because really, it's a skin condition and you can never fully get rid of it. It can resurface at any time with seemingly no cause. I've had eczema and/or dermatitis since I was a baby so I've had 22 years of trying various methods to try and get it to go away. There are a few ways to treat it: topically, environmentally and internally. I'll cover each, what I've used and why I think it's good. This isn't going to be a super exciting post as it's not all about a new product or anything like that, but I know a lot of people have skin issues like this so thought I'd pass on what I've learnt.

If you have any more ideas to add comment below - I'm always willing to try something new! Especially going into spring/summer here in New Zealand it's prime season for skin problems, eurgh. Anyway, lets get on with this post without any more preamble.

Topical solutions: 
By this I mean of course things you apply to your skin to soothe inflamed skin.

Steroid cream
This is the least natural albeit most effective way of quickly treating eczema/dermatitis. I have a very strong 75% beta cream which I was prescribed - it's not great for extended periods of use but if your skin is as bad as mine (it would essentially crack, bleed, heal then start all over again...) this may be a good option. There are of course lower doses available and these are just as good if your skin isn't as dire as all that.

If you read my blog frequently you're probably getting sick of hearing about this product. It smooths skin, gently exfoliates (depending on how hard you scrub!) and moisturises skin beautifully. I'm most partial to the coconut variety as it's the most hydrating. It really helps the dry skin on my hands especially.

Charity Pot
Generally, it's wise to use unfragranced products but that doesn't mean you can't use products that are NATURALLY FRAGRANCED. What I mean by this is, coconut for example naturally has a smell but this doesn't mean it will be reactive to your skin. Charity Pot by Lush has a beautiful chocolatey smell which has resulted in me using 4 pots consecutively over 2 years. It's so gentle, hydrating and doesn't sting my skin. I think moisturisers/body lotions are very personal but I'd tried other lotions and this was one of the few that really helped. Another lovely Lush option is Sympathy for the Skin - a slightly thicker lotion but wonderful all the same.

Burt's Bees Banana and Beeswax Hand Cream
This is the thickest and most luxurious hand cream I've ever used. Even in the worst days of my dry hands this has been such a relief to use. It smells beautiful, has very few unnatural ingredients and lasts a really long time both in the pot and on your hands.

Calamine Lotion
This can be a little drying but if you're desperate to stop that itch this will do the trick. You can get it from the pharmacy, keep it in the fridge and smooth it on it's or hot feeling skin and it really soothes it.

Environmental solutions:
Certain environmental factors can affect your skin in different ways, these are a few things that can help!

The sun is great for dermatitis, obviously you don't want too much but I always found the sun made my skin a little less tight and itchy feeling. I'm not sure if it's the vitamin D or what but ten minutes a day with your problem areas exposed can really help.

Salt water
This can be a bit painful if your skin is really bad but the more salt water exposure you can get the better. If you're miles away from the beach, you can always dissolve a cup of salt into a bath, let the water cool until it's just warm and have a soak.

Shower temperature
Too much hot water will irritate your skin. You know how your skin feels all soft and can go pruney in water? That's not good if you have skin problems! Likewise for the bath, by all means have a soak but a dermatologist once told me water is in itself an irritant - too much will make your skin worse. Don't stay in the tub too long.

Avoiding soap
Really foamy products like shower gels and bubble bath are especially rough on your skin. Trying a creamy soap with olive oil or something more neutral like QV wash is a good option.

Internal solutions: 
Some foods and supplements can do harm to, or benefit your skin. These are some things I've noticed.

Citrus can aggravate your skin
When I was a kid I used to drink lots of Raro (that citric acidy orange drink - with the powder you dissolve in water?) and ate a lot of tangelos and the like. There was often a trend between sugar/acid consumption and my skin flaring up.

Cod liver oil/krill oil
Of all the oils I've tried krill seems to have helped my skin the most. My hands flare up less often, my face seems to have less break outs and I can have more things that would usually be a bit irritating to my skin in my diet e.g. coffee.

Hopefully this very wordy post has interested/helped someone. Do let me know if there's anything you find particularly useful - it's always helpful to hear other peoples perspectives because I know how common a problem this is!

Claire x


1 comment:

  1. I suffer from this pretty badly on/off I have found that using Sukin organics hand wash or Dermaveen wash (I carry a little DV around for on the go) then moisturising every day has combatted it mostly. I exfoliate using Lush Dark Angels pretty much over my entire upper body because I've found that takes off the top layer so the moisturiser can get right to work. And when it flares up really bad I use 'Nourish Australia' eczema cream it's ugly, stinks, but works a treat for flare ups.

    I find just eliminating harsh soaps and chemicals and using gloves when washing the dishes has fixed my hands, which is where I mostly get it, sometimes around my elbows and inside of my elbow, again daily exfoliation and moisturisation, along with avoiding chemicals, works for me :)


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