I’ve recently had some weird eczema reactions on my body that have led to two skin infections. Since then I’ve learned more about eczema and have found some ways to provide relief when I have outbreaks. I’m sharing some of my tips with you in the hope that the information can help you or your child find relief from an eczema reaction. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor so I am not responsible for any adverse reactions. Please seek your doctor’s advice before trying anything. I am simply sharing what has worked for me.
Preventing a Flare Up
If you’ve discovered that you or your child has sensitive skin that is prone to eczema, you would be wise to start taking some precautions to hopefully prevent future reactions. Since it’s so hard to determine exactly what causes each reaction, you can start with some basic precautions.
- If you happen to know what triggers your eczema, then make every effort to avoid those triggers.
- Skin can be sensitive to the many harsh chemicals in commercial laundry detergent so it’s a good idea to wash everyone’s clothes and sheets with a more natural detergent like Seventh Generation, which is non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, free of dyes, perfumes, phosphates, and optical brighteners. An even better option is to use soap nuts for your wash, like I wrote about recently.
- Since soap dries the skin you may want to skip using soap when you bathe for awhile, or at least cut way back on the frequency of using soap. Also, make sure your soap is gentle and preferably as natural as possible with few ingredients. Stay away from the commercial brands since they have so many harsh chemicals in them.
- Keep the skin hydrated. Dry skin is a major trigger for eczema flare ups. I recently purchased some skin balm with neem in it as it’s supposed to be really great for eczema. I purchased this skin balm from Banyan Botanicals, as they had a balm with the best ingredients I could find (even if neem wasn’t as high on the list). I’ve also heard that aloe is good, as well.
- Reduce stress. This is easier said than done but stress is a big trigger of eczema so I urge you to find ways to relax and rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul. Acupuncture was a big help for me.
Relief During a Flare Up
When you do have an eczema flare up, here are a few things you can do to bring relief.
- Don’t scratch. As hard as this is, it’s best if you can avoid scratching. Eczema is known as the ‘itch that rashes’ as the rash doesn’t appear until after much scratching has occurred.
- When the itching is unbearable and the scratching is maddening (yes, I have been there and done that) apply something cold to the affected area. This was the only thing that brought relief; and the colder the better. If I had access to ice cubes I would take one, hold it with tongs, and rub it up and down my arm (where I had the rash). I did this as long as I could take it, which was maybe 30-60 seconds. It was amazing how quickly the itch went away. Other times I held my arm under a faucet running cold water and sometimes I used a cold washcloth. Of course the ice trick worked the best, but you may need other options if you aren’t comfortable putting ice cubes on your baby!
- Wear loose clothing, especially on the affected area. During my last flare up it was amazing the difference between wearing a tight-fitting shirt and a loose shirt.
- Keep your body temperature down. During my flare up if I starting getting too warm, the itching returned. This happened at night when I had piles of blankets on me. If you have a baby this might be hard, especially when it’s cold outside and the tendency is to bundle them up. Try not to keep the baby in the car seat too long (when he’s not in the car, of course) and keep him cool other times.
- During my flare up, taking a hot shower would bother my skin and I could feel it heat up and start to itch. So at the end of my shower I turned the water to cold and stood there as long as I could take it to let the “turn off” my skin, so to speak.
I hope I’ve provided some information that will be helpful to you as you deal with eczema this winter. Do you have any other tips that have worked for you during eczema flare ups? If so, please share them with me!
Wendy – Parenting Tips 365