It’s thought that one in ten of us will get eczema at some point in our lifetime. Yet, despite being so common, there is no cure. Rather, it is a condition that anyone affected will have to manage over time.
If you suffer with eczema, your first port of call should obviously always be your GP who will be able to diagnose the type of eczema and will probably prescribe some form of emollient to moisturise the skin, in addition to a steroid treatment. This is a discussion to have with your doctor.
However, on top of the medicated creams I’ve used on my own eczema-prone hands over the years, there are also a few practical tips that have helped manage my symptoms; which range from dry and flaking skin to blistering, but always localised to palms and around my hands.
Soaps and perfumed products:
If you suffer with eczema then you will know that exposure to lots of products and chemicals can be a nightmare for very dry skin, particularly those that contain perfume (and therefore moisture-zapping alcohol). I noticed my hands were especially dry after showering or washing my hands, but found switching traditional hand soap for an emollient and shower gels for unscented versions reduced the irritation. Not very glam, but has saved my skin!
Keep skin dry:
Linked to the above, thoroughly towel-drying skin after washing will always thank you. Hand-dryers in particular can often be too harsh on skin that is already in a very dry condition and, conversely, not drying skin at all and allowing moisture sit on the skin can encourage irritation.
Of course, keeping skin hydrated, and remembering to top up throughout the day and straight after washing, is vital in managing eczema symptoms. In addition to my prescribed medicated treatment, a number of products have also helped keep my dry skin at bay.
Clinique‘s Deep Comfort hand and cuticle cream is both nourishing and un-fragranced, and absorbs almost instantly into skin. I also really like L’Occitane‘s rich Shea Butter hand cream, though this carries a light fragrance so not one for inflamed skin.
Finally, an American import, CeraVe launched in the UK earlier this year. It’s no-frills but effective, fragrance-free products have garnered a huge fan base in the US. I’ve used the moisturising cream to keep my hands hydrated.
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