What Is Eczema
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin, which is typically inherited. Generally eczema is a disease of childhood, but some adults can also be affected.
Factors That Trigger Eczema
- Allergies: environmental (pollen or pets) or food.
- Irritants: wool, heavy detergents and perfumed soaps.
- Dry skin, which is problematic in Colorado.
- Heat, sweating, and extreme cold.
- Skin infections.
How Can I Avoid Triggering Eczema?
- Wear moisturizer cream/ointment every day.
- Wear sunscreen at all times and avoid prolonged sun exposure.
- Do not scratch—scratching can infect your skin, which will lead to more inflammation.
- Keep fingernails short.
- Wear loose‐fitting, cotton clothing.
- Wash new clothes before wearing them.
- Swimming is helpful as long as chlorine is washed off skin immediately and occlusive creams are applied right after.
- Avoid all skin products that contain heavy perfumes or color.
- Avoid lotions, which contain alcohol, and can actually be more drying.
How Do I Treat Eczema?
Soak & Seal
Don’t use bubble bath, scented soaps, or heavily perfumed products.
Right after bath, lightly pat dry, and then quickly (within 2 minutes) apply cream/ointment based moisturizer to
damp skin to “seal” in the hydration.
Daily “soak” in the tub for 15‐20 minutes in warm (not hot) water. For the face, use a wet wash cloth to keep
the skin on the face moist.
Soap and shampoo should be used only during last few minutes of bath.
*This may be recommended by your Provider depending on the severity of your symptoms*
Use about a half‐cup of bleach for a full standard tub. Soak 5 to 10 minutes twice a week.
After soaking and applying topical medication (you should see your allergist who can prescribe or recommend medications that can be utilized )or moisturizer to the affected skin. Wet wraps should then be applied.
Put on a pair of wet pajamas or wet long underwear, followed by dry pajamas or a sweat suit; cover the hands and feet with wet cotton tube socks, followed by dry cotton tube socks. Use warm tap water, wring out clothes; do not use dripping wet materials for wet wraps.
Wet wraps should be worn for 4‐6 hours per day or a minimum of 2 hours, 1‐2 times a day. This can be done at night while sleeping.
- Soap: Unscented –Dove, Aveeno, Alpha Keri, and Vanicream
- Shampoo: Johnson’s Natural Baby Shampoo, Neutrogena, and Free and Clear.
- Lotions should be avoided because they contain alcohol, which can actually be more drying to the skin.
- Creams: Vanicream, Eucerin, Cetaphil and Cera Ve
- Ointment: Aquaphor, Vaniply
If your physician suspects the presence of an underlying infection, he/she will sometimes prescribe oral antibiotics to treat this. Eczema can sometimes be very difficult to heal in the presence of infection.
Eczema is a condition that can be frustrating. Treatment programs are time consuming, but they can control the symptoms and help the long‐term course of the eczema. It is important to avoid those factors that trigger eczema and to learn as much as possible about the condition. Not all treatments work for everyone and it is important to work with your allergist to find the individual treatment plan that works the best for you.