Changing seasons can often signal the start of an eczema flare up. If you suffer from eczema, or know someone who does, you’ll see the signs: from red and itchy skin rashes, inflamed reddish-brown or grey patches on your hands, feet, chest, neck, elbows and knees, to serious itching at night, raw and swollen skin from scratch, and even skin that cracks and leaks fluid! When you’re in the middle of a flare up, you feel like you’d do anything to calm down or prevent them from happening again.
These flare-ups can come and go, but there are ways to keep your eczema under control.
Here’s 5 things you can try, to help deal with eczema flare ups:
1. Know your triggers
Triggers are not the same for everyone. It could be the fabric of your clothes, pet dander, cigarette smoke, metals, perfume, temperature change, some foods, soaps, shampoos and detergents, or even stress. Talk to your doctor to pinpoint what irritates your skin and keep track of anything you use that seems to trigger a flare after you touch it.
2. Commit to a skincare routine
Consistency is key. Follow a skin care regimen to help control the condition of your skin. If your skin gets too dry, it can become itchy, scaly or even start to crack (which lets bacteria or allergens inside). To prevent dry skin, use a humidifier while you sleep, and get into the habit of applying a moisturising cream, lotion or body oil after a shower, and during the day.
3. Know your oils
Avoid olive oil, essential oils and aromatherapy oils – all known to irritate the skin. Instead, choose natural oils that can heal and hydrate your skin. Besides coconut oil (moisturising) and sunflower oil (hydrating), there is one other natural oil that plays an important role – emu oil, for healing. Emu oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce the redness, irritation and itchiness commonly caused by eczema lesions. It not only promotes healing of the skin, but can help prevent scarring too. Better still, it can be ingested (as well as applied topically) to help treat your eczema from within.
Tip: soak in a warm bath with a few drops of pure emu oil to ease itchiness and add moisture back to your skin.
4. Get your house in order
Make sure your immediate environment doesn’t cause your skin anymore grief. Dust, smoke, pet dander, sand – these tiny particles in the air can irritate your skin. Keep your home and office area clean, dust often, and avoid being around smokers if your skin is triggered. Then, take one step closer and investigate your wardrobe. Fabrics that are rough, too tight, too warm, too heavy or itchy can also trigger a flare up. Opt for soft clothes that are gentle and cooling on your skin. Wear loose clothing that doesn’t rub against your skin.
5. Try a ‘hands-on’ approach
For some eczema sufferers, emotional stress can trigger flare ups. Help lessen the stress in your life with massage. It’s a tried and tested wellness strategy for those living with eczema, because it can be a soothing way to work moisturizing oils deep into the skin, whilst also relaxing sore or tense muscles as a form of stress reduction.
Tip: switch out your regular massage oil for pure emu oil – it acts quickly and effectively to easily absorb deep into the skin, while also being hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, meaning it has low skin irritation and doesn’t clog your pores. Perfect for sensitive and highly inflamed skin.