Eczema: How to Get Rid of, What it is, Causes
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Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes inflammation, dryness, and itchiness of the skin. This condition can range from mild to severe, depending on the person, and can appear anywhere on the body. Though eczema most commonly affects children, the condition can develop in anyone at any age.
Typically, people with eczema experience 'flare-ups' from time to time, this can be triggered by allergies or stress. During a flare-up, people develop red or brown rashes that can become cracked, flaky, or begin to ooze.
Due to excessive scratching, skin can also become sensitive and raw. In mild cases, these symptoms can be annoying, but in severe cases, eczema can affect your quality of life and lead to further damage if not handled correctly.
Eczema can be caused by several environmental or genetic factors. In some, eczema is hereditary and runs in the family. In addition, inherited diseases such as asthma or allergies may also leave you at higher risk of developing the condition.
Your immune system can play a role too. Certain allergies can trigger your immune system to react and cause inflammation, leading to a flare-up.
Environmental factors such as air pollution, smoke, and pollen can also trigger eczema along with emotional factors like stress and anxiety. If you are allergic or intolerant to certain foods, skin products, and clothing materials, this can also trigger a flare-up.
Though eczema can affect anyone, it is not a contagious condition and does not spread through contact with another person.
As we now know, external factors play a large roll in the frequency of eczema flare-ups. That means managing your environmental factors is vital preventing eczema as much as possible. Here are the 3 most common factors to look at:
1. Adjust Your Diet
What you feed your body has a big impact on your health. By adjusting your diet, you can reduce the severity of flare-ups, and even reduce how often they occur.
Consider an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce inflammation and itching. This diet can be achieved by consuming foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and nuts. Colorful fruits and vegetables, seeds, and whole grains also support an anti-inflammatory diet.
In addition, avoid trigger foods. Most often, foods such as eggs, dairy, wheat, and soy cause allergic reactions that can trigger eczema. This, however, may not be the case for everyone, so it’s important to identify your food triggers for your peace of mind. Avoiding your food triggers will also reduce your symptoms and the frequency of flare-ups.
Include probiotics as part of your daily supplements or include fermented foods with natural probiotics in your diet. Probiotics are ‘good bacteria’ that help strengthen your gut and boost your immune system. Foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut have natural probiotic properties that can help improve your symptoms of eczema.
Lastly, keeping your skin hydrated is important when it comes to managing eczema. To stay hydrated, drink enough water and include more high-water content foods in your diet. This includes cucumbers, apples, watermelon, celery, and lettuce, to name a few.
2. Check Your Household Products
As someone with eczema, your skin tends to be more sensitive to irritants, so household products with harsh chemicals can also affect your skin and cause flare-ups.
Cleaning products such as bleach, ammonia, and other cleaning agents are some of the most common irritants. These chemicals are extremely harsh on the skin and cause irritation and inflammation. For people with allergies and asthma, these products can also trigger breathing difficulties, making them dangerous as well.
Similarly, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, air fresheners, and even pet products can contain fragrances and chemicals that may irritate the skin. Using products that are fragrance-free, chemical-free, and hypoallergenic can help to reduce irritation of the skin and avoid eczema flare-ups.
3. Avoid Bad Skincare Ingredients
Some skincare ingredients may cause eczema to flare up, so it’s important to avoid these ingredients to manage your symptoms better. Always check for ingredients such as alcohol, parabens, and acids to make sure your skincare and haircare products are right for you.
Though alcohol is a common ingredient in certain toners, this can dehydrate the skin and cause further dryness for people with eczema. Additionally, parabens used to prolong the shelf life of products and acids used to treat certain skin conditions can also be very harsh on eczema-prone skin. Even certain fragrances should be used with caution to avoid triggering flare-ups.
Beyond natural management solutions, eczema is treated medically with steroids such as corticosteroids or glucocorticoids. This treatment, however, can be dangerous, especially with prolonged usage that can increase your risk of infection and cause skin thinning, skin discoloration, and stretch marks.
Additionally, with prolonged use, you can become addicted to these topical creams. This can cause severe complications such as systemic absorption of the cream into your bloodstream, which can lead to side effects such as high blood pressure.
For this reason, it's advised that you do not use topical steroids for the long-term treatment of eczema. Rather, making lifestyle changes to reduce flare-ups and using safer, chemical-free topical creams is more beneficial in the long run.
We made Cleanse + Restore as a safe, gentle cleanser for people with eczema. Thanks to hypoallergenic ingredients, it is gentle and soothing to sensitive skin.
Enriched with aloe vera and manuka honey, this cleanser targets dry, sensitive skin that’s prone to rashes.
As a sulfate-free and paraben-free product, this gentle cleanser helps to keep your skin moisturized and clean.
Elixir is an excellent topical cream that can be used long-term to help calm flare-ups.
This extra-strength cream uses a unique 16-in-1 formula with the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids your skin needs to combat itching and irritation for happier, smoother looking skin.
For more natural and cruelty-free skincare, browse our catalog of products to find a solution that works for you. Remember to always patch-test any new product to ensure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients.