Basic Skin Care to Reduce Eczema

by Mel on October 27, 2009

If you have eczema or psoriasis you need to take special care of your skin.  The skin’s ability to protect you is reduced.  Healthy skin is designed to withstand external attack, but the skin of the eczema or psoriasis sufferer is more sensitive and vulnerable.

A proper medical diagnosis is important, and occasional medical checks especially during an outbreak may be necessary to bring the condition under control.  However most of the time the steps you will need to take to protect your skin you will be able to do yourself.

Keep your skin moisturized

The most fundamental measure you can take to protect your skin and keep it as healthy as possible is to moisturize your skin.  The skin’s ability to produce sebum is affected when you have eczema.  Since sebum is the natural moisturizing oil that keeps the skin supple, a lack of sebum will result in dry, fragile skin.

The natural oils need to be replaced with moisturizing products called emollients.  Emollients are oil or fat based moisturizers and softening agents.

Emollients work in two ways.  Firstly, they form a protective waterproof barrier over the skin which helps trap moisture in and prevents irritating substances contacting the skin.

Secondly, emollients will help to ‘stick’ the skin surface cells together similar to how the skin’s own natural oils do.  This will help to make the skin feel smoother and improve its appearance.  Emollients will also help to decrease the itch, thereby making the skin more comfortable.

Use your emollients regularly

Emollients are available in many different forms.  They include bath oils, shower gels, soap substitutes, lotions, creams and ointments.  Emollients are most effective when used on a regular basis.  A daily routine needs to be established.

However, choosing the right emollient can be difficult.  Unfortunately the best method really is a matter of trial and error.

Tips for Using Emollients

Regardless of the type of emollient you choose to use there are some common rules that if followed will enable you to gain the most benefit from your emollient.

•    To reduce the risk of infection always wash your hands before applying your emollient.
•    To prevent the skin drying out apply your emollient immediately after drying the skin.
•    To minimize skin irritation and increased itching always rub emollients in the direction of the hair growth.
•    To decrease the risk of cross infection, never share your emollient with other people.
•    To moisturize your skin overnight, apply an emollient to your whole body before going to bed.
•    To minimize skin irritation, apply moisturizing creams gently.

Next post: