It usually appears as a dry, red patch on the skin, sometimes it looks flaky but it itches like crazy and u can’t seem to stop scratching.Its common to appear during early childhood and in most cases, it becomes a chronic condition (lifelong). It’s also genetic so it does run in the family so best thing to do is to pay close attention to your skin when “flare-ups” occur and to work out a routine that works for you, seeing that there is no cure yet but it can be well controlled with the correct management.

“Flare ups”?It’s when the skin suddently becomes irritated by triggers.The rash doesn’t simply go away if you leave it untreated.

Triggers? Can be anything but most common triggers are:

Allergic reactions to-allergens, pollen, pot dander and certain foods.Physical contact (skin to skin contact) with- chemicals, fabrics and dyes.

How does this Eczema look and where on the body is most commonly found?

It typically appears on joint areas like behind the knees, elbows, wrist and neck. Sometimes it can appear on your face.

It can appear as a mild form of a rash-dry and flaky. moderate-where it appears red and irritated or severe- where the skin cracks and starts to ooze.

What can I do at home to manage this condition?

Here are some tips that you can try in the comfort of your home. How to reduce the itching and sooth irritated skin: Even if your skin does not look red, dry or flaky it does need to be cared for and protected constantly.

At bathtime

  • Avoid using scented products. Pure white, unscented soaps and shower gel are the way to go. To avoid drying of the skin. Bathe in lukewarm water for at least 15minutes to calm the skin. Also, avoid scrubbing your skin with a facecloth or a loofah, try rubbing the skin.
  • Moisturizer your skin.
  • Eczema can become dry and irritated easily so try to moisturize at least twice a day especially after bath time
  • Apply anti-itch ointments eg. Emulsifying ointment or petroleum jelly (Vaseline-unscented)
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Try to drink much water as possible, helps reduce the itching.
  • Try to minimize doing activities that would make you sweat, it irritates the skin and increases the itching.

Fabrics checks

Avoid scratchy materials such as wool or polyester. Those fabrics rubs against skin and can lead to irritation.Try to wear or dress yourself in soft, natural fine eg. Cotton-blend, silk or bamboo linen fabrics. In summer, try lose-fitting clothing to  cover and protect against the severe sun exposure. 

Stress Management

Stress can cause skin flare-ups, making it more itchy then usual.

Medications

Try to speak to a doctor to get a recommended anti-histamine or inflammatory tablet, or ointment to treat the swelling, itching and irritation of the skin. Also, get the appropriate health educational instructions on how and when to use the treatment.

What can be done  during the flare-ups?During “flare-ups”:

  1. Apply cool compressors – Soak the facecloth in cool water, wring the cloth till damp and apply to skin, to help it cool down. Then, apply moisturizer.
  2. Colloidal oatmeal baths – Add the oatmeal to lukewarm bath and soak in the bath for 15minutes. Gently dry yourself, almost leaving the skin feeling damp and then apply moisturizer.
  3. Prevent skin breakage – Constant scratching can break the skin, and can lead to having small cuts which can become infectious or bleed. So try to keep your nails short- check your nails after bathing for when it needs trimming. If it’s short, it can’t dig into skin.Always try to cover affected area- when something is covered, you less likely to scratch alot

And most importantly…Try to STOP SCRATCHING.