I have eczema. I’ve been battling itchy, dry patches on the back of my elbows and knees for as long as I can remember, and since I’ve had my son, these patches are also now on my face. It always seems to flare up in the winter, even in Texas, where we have very moderate winters. The air doesn’t get as cold and dry in Texas, but that doesn’t stop my skin from drying out, unfortunately.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema. Atopic refers to a group of diseases with an often-inherited link to developing other allergic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.
The cause of eczema is unknown and there’s no cure, but you can avoid irritants. Here are some the ways that I’ve avoided common eczema irritation in the winter:
1. Drink Plenty of Water
When it comes to hydration, drinking water is hands down the best way to do it. Water = hydration (moisture). The best way to moisturize or fight any dry skin condition is to moisturize from the inside out.
2. Avoid Acidic Foods
My dermatologist advised my parents that it was best that I avoid foods with a high acidity. This meant staying away from citrus juice and soda. Even now in my late twenties, if I overindulge, I see a difference in my skin. Everyone’s skin is different, so I encourage you to consult your doctor about possible foods that may correlate with skin irritation.
3. See a Doctor
I have a very mild case of eczema, thankfully. This may not be true for you or your child. A doctor will be able to identify other associated allergies, as well as prescribe mediation if needed.
4. Take Warm Baths
I know how soothing a hot bath can be. Calgon, take me away. Right?! Make sure you only indulge in a warm (not hot) bath. High water temperatures can really rob your skin of its natural oils, leaving your skin overly dry. This will make eczema flare-ups worse.
5. Use a Bar Instead or Wash
Liquid body wash has harsh detergents that will dry out the healthiest of skin. Replace your body wash with a natural bar of soap. Bars of soap are comprised of saponified oils that gently clean and moisturize your skin.
6. Reduce Stress
Reducing stress by exercising will increase blood circulation. This will, in turn, increase your body’s natural defenses against eczema. You can read more here.
7. Treat Irritation Right Away
As soon as you notice dryness, grab your hydrocortisone cream. I have tried all kinds of home remedies for eczema dryness, and I’ve found that they are great for *preventing* irritation by moisturizing dry skin. However, the best topical treatment is hydrocortisone cream, because it decreases inflammation and itchiness. Please, if you know of any more natural treatments, share them in the comment section.
Photo Credit: istock
Tamara Floyd is the Founder and Editor of Natural Hair Rules.com, a site dedicated to encouraging others to be who they are naturally. Visit anytime at www.naturalhairrules.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.