What is Eczema?
“Eczema, also known as a atopic dermatitis, refers to a condition where sensitivity of the skin causes it to be easily inflamed and irritated,” explains Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a New York City dermatologist. While eczema is very common in children, it can strike at any age. Although eczema is not contagious, it tends to be a chronic condition with no known cure.
Types of Eczema
When your skin is red, inflamed or itchy, eczema may be to blame. The term eczema refers to a group of conditions responsible for this rash-like reaction in the skin. The most common form of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. While eczema is very common in children, it can strike at any age. Although Eczema is not contagious, it tends to be a chronic condition with no known cure. There are measures you can take to help alleviate the symptoms associated with eczema. Self-care treatments are important. Using gentle, fragrance-free skincare products and keeping the skin hydrated are key in keeping the itchiness and irritation associated with eczema under control.
Eczema flares, which appear on the skin as red, scaly, and itchy patches, can show up almost anywhere on your body, but the most common areas are backs of knees, inside of the elbows, neck, wrist, hands and feet. Using gentle, fragrance-free skincare products, taking warm—not hot—showers and keeping the skin hydrated are key in keeping the itchiness and irritation under control.
What Causes Eczema?
The exact cause of eczema remains unknown, but it’s thought to be the immune system’s reaction to certain environmental irritants or triggers. The most common triggers for eczema include dry air, dust, pollen, synthetic fabrics in clothing or bedsheets, certain detergents or household cleaners, stress, heat, hot water or food allergies.
Natural Remedies for Eczema
Typically, eczema can be treated at home. The best natural remedies for eczema include keeping the skin moisturized and using naturally healing skincare ingredients, including colloidal oatmeal and shea butter. Other healing therapies include taking baths with vinegar or using wet wraps on the skin to lock in topical moisturizers. Discuss alternative therapies for eczema with your dermatologist to be safe.
Everyday Care & Prevention
Eczema Care: Household & Laundry Tips
When you have eczema, you have to pay attention to anything that comes into contact with your skin—including fabrics from your clothes and bedding. Always wash your clothes and sheets before using them for the first time and make sure to use fragrance-free, dye-free and hypoallergenic detergents. Stick to liquid detergents, as they tend to leave less residue than powder formulations.
Sunscreen for Eczema
It’s important to protect your skin and wear SPF when you have eczema, but you need to know which is the best sunscreen to use. Chemical-based sunscreens can further irritate skin that’s already compromised with eczema. Babo’s mineral sunscreens contain only zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, making them safe and non-irritating for eczema-prone skin types.
For many families, living with eczema is a reality. It’s important to make smart choices every day on how to treat eczema. Since there’s reason to believe eczema can be triggered by diet, take a closer look at the foods your family is eating. Certain food allergies can trigger an eczema outbreak. If you think diet is to blame for your child’s eczema, it’s important to speak to your doctor.