5 Tips to Prevent Eczema Outbreaks
5 Tips to Prevent Eczema Outbreaks
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes skin irritation, oozing blisters, and itchy rashes. It can also result in leathery skin patches that appear over time. Some doctors refer to it as dermatitis. Eczema may disappear for some time, only to pop up again; it can be acute or long-lasting, or it might just flare up after touching something or in specific conditions.
Eczema develops most often in children under two years of age, but it can also affect older children and adults. Genetic and environmental triggers may be factors in the evolution of the condition, but the exact cause of eczema is not fully understood. Dry skin or sweat, scratchy wool clothes, pet dander, hot or cold weather, and harsh soaps and cleansers are common triggers.
Although eczema is a chronic skin condition, it is possible to reduce the frequency of eczema outbreaks and better control the illness. Below we’ll describe 5 ways you can get a leg up on your eczema and prevent flare-ups before they start. We’ll also share how phototherapy has helped thousands of our patients live better during the day and sleep well at night.
1. Moisturize Your Skin
Dry skin is a common eczema trigger for many people. When your skin gets too dry, it can become rough, itchy, and even crack, allowing bacteria or allergens to penetrate inside. Extreme changes in temperature can also stress your skin.
To help keep your skin moist, make sure you properly moisturize it (especially in winter when the air can be very dry). Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your bedroom when you sleep and apply body lotion after you get out of a shower or bath.
Bonus tip: Keep your moisturizer in the refrigerator—it feels wonderful when applied cold.
When symptoms of dry skin get out of hand, Array Skin Therapy’s medical professionals administer phototherapy as a safe, non-invasive, and effective treatment option for people suffering from eczema. Phototherapy, also called light therapy, is a skin treatment that harnesses the power of ultraviolet (UV) light to ease mild to severe eczema symptoms.
2. Reduce Factors that Trigger Outbreaks
Certain things can trigger or aggravate eczema outbreaks, including specific foods, pollen, pet dander, molds, dust, and mites. Tiny particles in the air can cause a rash or irritate your skin. You might be allergic to pet dander from cats or dogs; second-hand cigarette smoke or a dusty home may also be to blame.
Try to identify the factors that set off your flare-ups and avoid them as much as possible. This may help prevent or delay the next outbreak. If you think you may have an allergy, consult your primary care physician or talk to an allergy specialist.
The most common type of phototherapy used to treat eczema is narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) light. This uses a special machine to emit UVB light, which is the best part of natural sunlight for treating eczema.
3. Body and Facial Products Matter
Cosmetics, soaps, cleansers, hair products, perfumes, scented lotions, and shaving creams may all contain ingredients that can irritate your skin and trigger eczema rashes. To learn what’s best for you and minimize the chance of an outbreak, test products on a small area of skin before using them regularly. Leave the product on your skin for at least 24 hours, then check if you’ve had a reaction.
Keep track of anything you use that seems to provoke a flare up after you touch it. Choose soaps, cleansers, or laundry detergent without added perfumes or dyes. Natural or organic products or those without artificial ingredients may provide a solution, but always test them out first.
If you do experience a flare up, phototherapy can help to:
- Reduce itching
- Soothe inflammation
- Improve skin appearance
By using a narrow spectrum of sunlight, phototherapy is a non-invasive, no-drug alternative that requires no needles, no creams, and has few possible side effects.
What Patients Are Saying
“The professional, friendly staff has been great to work with. They are so accommodating to my schedule, and very flexible in fitting my treatment times into my busy schedule. It’s been a terrific partnership. I am so pleased with the results.”
“After years of suffering from psoriasis, constant trips to the dermatologist and many expensive creams, my psoriasis cleared, only to return with a vengeance later. Array’s cutting edge phototherapy treatment has made all the difference. It has provided relief that years of medication did not. I am so glad I made the call.”
4. Watch What You Wear
Fabrics that are rough, too tight, or itchy can cause eczema. Clothing that is too warm or heavy can make you sweat and also prompt a reaction.
Try to wear clothing made of 100% cotton. Cotton is a comfortable material that allows the skin to breathe, which helps prevent skin irritation. In contrast, more synthetic materials such as wool, hemp, and raw linen tend to irritate the skin and can bring about an outbreak of symptoms.
Choose soft clothes that are gentle on your skin and that help keep skin cool. If wool or other fabrics seem to bother you, avoid wearing them. Find wool-free garments to keep you warm in winter, and wear loose items that don’t rub against your skin.
The UV light used in phototherapy inhibits the inflammatory response in the skin and influences cell division. The treatment takes place in special booths with lamps that emit light at a specific wavelength. There are also specialized lamps that can be used to treat individual parts of your body, such as your head, hands, or feet.
5. Take Baths!
Doctors used to tell eczema patients not to bathe too often. However, board-certified dermatologists now say that one or two baths or showers a day can be very beneficial. Your skin cells absorb water through their membranes and become well-hydrated.
Soak in a warm bath (lukewarm water is less drying than hot water). Feel free to add small amounts of bleach, baking soda, bath oil, or colloidal oatmeal to ease itching and moisten your skin. It’s important to stay in the water for at least ten to twenty minutes, so your skin can properly soak up the water (wait until your skin gets a little pruny and crinkled).
Many things have the potential to set off an eczema flare up. You may not have the same triggers as someone else. It pays to figure out what causes your skin to react and then plan and act accordingly.
Roughly 70% of people with eczema get better with phototherapy. Some people find that phototherapy puts their eczema in a “remittive” or “quiet” state long past the end of the treatment.
Our phototherapy patients report improved self-esteem with more confidence in public and among friends, colleagues, and loved ones. They also say that they sleep better and experience less discomfort throughout the day thanks to reduced itching.
If you have any questions about phototherapy treatment or preventing eczema, please feel free to contact us.