Living with atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, can become overwhelming and even challenging. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made in order to manage the condition including possible dietary restrictions, prevention of allergen exposure and you may even have to adjust how you shower. This article will explore the three factors you need to consider when showering with eczema.
It is not uncommon for people to enjoy a nice, hot and steamy shower. The hot water can relieve stress and tension that has built up, as well as, sore muscles; however, the heat can actually cause eczema flares to worsen. The hotter the water, the more drying out of the skin. That is the opposite of what you want when managing your condition. Ideally, you should turn the water to a lukewarm temperature or two degrees lesser than the desired temperature. Though this can be difficult, think about how it will help your skin and your life! You can do it!
You should also limit the time you spend in the shower….especially if you one of those people who stands in the shower long enough for the hot water to run cold. Try to avoid that from now on. The ideal length of a shower should be 5-10 minutes. In addition, shower no more than once a day unless you have exerted yourself with an activity such as exercise and are sweaty. Sweat can exacerbate eczema flare ups due to the irritation of the salts that are deposited onto the skin and the little micro-scratches that the salts cause. For more severe cases of dermatitis, consider washing only the stinky and dirty areas such as your feet, hands armpits and genitals.
Your Bath Products
What you lather your skin with can be the difference between mild symptoms and severe rashes. It is important that you educate yourself on known contact allergens and skin irritants and utilize products that do not contain them. While some of these chemicals are not easy to read and difficult to pronounce, it is imperative that you become familiar with them. It may benefit you to make a note of them and carry that with you to check labels for those specific ingredients before purchasing products.
Avoid the following surfactants: cocamidopropyl betaine, cocamide DEA and MEA. Also be aware of glucoside surfactants , which will read as …..”glucoside” on the label. Do not use products that contain fragrances, dyes, sulfates and essential oils. I realize that essential oils are all the rave currently however, for eczema sufferers it is best to stay away from them as many of them are topical allergens that will worsen your eczema. Another common ingredient in soaps and bath soaks is oatmeal. Using products with oatmeal runs the risk of reaction to gluten properties and I would recommend avoiding those altogether. For the last two years, I have been working hard at formulating some totally allergenic and safe cleansers and hopefully they will be available soon!
The most important part of treating your dry, itchy skin and flares associated with eczema is the proper moisturization of your skin! It makes sense, right? The skin is irritated, dry and often scaly. Of course, it is thirsty for moisture! The best time to apply your moisturizer is immediately after your shower. When you step out of the shower, be sure to pat yourself dry with the towel rather than rubbing it dry as this can cause irritation. Also, a brief side note, when washing your towels use allergen free detergents and avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Both of those are common allergens and irritants.
Back to the moisturizers. The first thing you need to be aware of, is that there are differences between lotions, creams and ointments. Lotions are more water than oil; making them them the least effective at locking in moisture. Creams have about a 50/50 ratio of water and oil, for more effectiveness. Ointments are anywhere from 80/20 to 100 percent oil based. This means that ointments are the most effective for locking in moisture, however they tend to have the least amount of water IN them. For this reason, I like to layer moisturizers. I recommend using the TrueLipids TrueTherapy Ceramide+ Cream followed by the TrueLipids Relieve & Protect Ointment. The cream has the water and other water soluble ingredients while the ointment restores the needed oils and helps to seal all the oils in.
In recent years, you may have heard the ingredient ceramides, being discussed in skin scare products. That is because they are important for skin barrier optimization (SBO). When I say skin barrier optimization, what do I mean? It’s simple. The best way for your skin to become healthy is to introduce to it products that help the skin to repair itself. Ceramides make up, roughly 47% of your epidermal barrier. Naturally, your skin loses ceramides due to factors such as environmental, climate and sun damage. Those who have eczema do not make ceramides properly and their skin is also deficient in other lipids such at cholesterol esters and very long chain fatty acids. It is important to address all these deficiencies simultaneously.
The science behind the TrueLipids technology it to target the numerous areas of deficiency in the skin barrier of eczema-prone skin, dry skin and aged skin all at the same time. This method has proven to be very helpful and that is why we are seeing the success we’ve been seeing with the products. The TrueLipids line is 100% hypoallergenic, free of 88 common and known allergens and full of ceramides, cholesterol esters, free fatty acids and other important factors for skin barrier optimization.
Please visit our before and after library, to witness the amazing results and remember, by implementing the proper shower etiquette for eczema, you will help to clear up flares and keep future ones at bay.