5 Tips to Relieve Skin Irritation From Eczema
Living with eczema means that you’re used to red, itchy, and irritated skin. While other people can try different creams and soaps without experiencing any significant side effects, finding the right body care products isn’t always as simple for you.
As frustrating as that can be, it’s helpful to understand the common causes of eczema flare-ups to find the right solutions. Eczema can feel like a disadvantage when it interferes with your daily life, but by listening to your skin needs, long-term relief may be easier than you think. Read our 5 tips below to help get your eczema under control.
1. Avoid Irritating Ingredients
If it seems like every product you try causes your skin to react, it’s possible that they all contain ingredients that aren’t eczema-friendly. Two of the biggest ingredient culprits include fragrance and sulfates.
It can be tempting to want try all of the different scented body lotions on the market, but if you're prone to eczema, your skin will probably react poorly to synthetic fragrance. When looking at ingredient lists on your bottles, skin-irritating ingredients may be hidden in the term "fragrance". Because of proprietary concerns, companies aren't required to to list every ingredient contained in their fragrances. When in doubt, products that list the word "fragrance" should be avoided.
In addition to fragrance, many body washes, shampoos, and lotions contain something called sulfates, which are synthetic chemicals commonly found in cleaning and beauty products. Sulfates are used to create the sudsy effect in shampoos and body washes to let you know the product is doing its job to clean. However, the suds don’t necessarily equal clean, but they can mean irritation for those with eczema. SLS (aka Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) is thought to irritate the skin by disrupting the natural oils that maintain the skin’s integrity. This can damage the natural skin barrier, and also reduce the skin’s ability to keep out allergens that may trigger reactions such as eczema. Sulfates can strip the skin and hair, and are often too harsh for our body, causing the skin to become too dry.
2. Reduce Cortisol Levels
Maybe surprisingly, stress and anxiety are thought to be eczema triggers. While it’s nearly impossible to completely block feelings of stress, there are several lifestyle adjustments that can help reduce cortisol levels, hopefully reducing the number of flare-ups.
The key is to keep your body from entering fight-or-flight mode on a daily basis by learning techniques that calm you down. Whether it’s practicing meditation, finding hobbies, or simply making time for loved ones, doing things that make you happy will make life more enjoyable and reduce stress levels in the process.
3. Eliminate Certain Foods
While you're getting rid of irritating ingredients in your body care products, it's worth trying to eliminate foods known to cause flare-ups as well. Foods like eggs, soy, dairy, gluten, and nuts are common culprits of allergic reactions for those with eczema. You can try eliminating all of these from your diet for a short time, and then slowly adding them back one at a time to see how your body reacts. This is sometimes referred to as an "elimination diet". It will take time to figure out which foods have a negative effect on your body, but it’s worth knowing what your body can and cannot handle.
4. Take Warm Baths
Even if you are following all of the rules above, you still might experience an eczema flare-up from time to time. If this happens, skip the shower and try soaking in a warm bath, using a gentle cleanser or non-toxic bubble bath to nourish your skin. As noted in our article on the Healing Powers and Health Benefits of a Bubble Bath, taking warm baths (without harsh soaps or chemicals) has been shown to improve a number of skin conditions. We frequently hear from customers that using our products helps with a variety of skin ailments including eczema, keratosis pilaris, dry & rough skin patches, skin allergies & irritations, and more.
Baths are an incredible way to release tension and hydrate your skin, which is crucial for easing eczema flare-ups. Submerging yourself in warm water is not only soothing, but it’s a great opportunity to be present. There’s very little time that we spend off of our phones, computers, or in solitude, so bathing can be your way to wind down and unplug.
5. Apply a Clean Body Cream
Whether you just stepped out of the bath or shower, always apply a clean body cream to slightly damp skin. If you suffer from eczema, the National Eczema Association recommends the “Soak and Seal” method, which includes taking a bath in lukewarm water using a gentle cleanser, followed by liberally applying moisturizer all over slightly damp skin. Since eczema tends to dry the skin out even more, hydrating and replenishing your skin barrier is key to reducing itchiness.
Your body cream should be gentle on your skin and free of synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and parabens so that you won’t be at risk of an adverse reaction. Intense scratching, rubbing, and inflammation can cause skin trauma in those with eczema, further damaging your skin barrier.
"Dylan is 14 years old and has severe eczema. It has been a challenge to say the least in finding gentle, amazing products to accompany her needs. My mother in law discovered you all and we couldn't be more satisfied...it moisturizes and soothes her skin without irritation or triggering flare ups. Fork & Melon has been a blessing & an up-lifter for her!"
Most importantly, don’t give up hope on finding solutions for managing your eczema. Everyone is different, and what works for someone else may not work for you. With patience and the elimination of common irritants, you will find the right methods to ease the discomfort and live your life without eczema getting in your way.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.