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Understanding and Avoiding Flares: Eczema Dos and Don’ts!

Eczema is a chronic skin condition marked by flares – episodes of red, itchy and aggravated skin. Preventing flares is key to achieving control. A good skin care routine and using topical medications to manage inflammation will help to keep your eczema under control.

Here is are some simple Dos and Don’ts to help identify and avoid common culprits of eczema flares.

Try unscented and soap-free cleansers (check out the ESC’s Seal of Acceptance products for guidance). Overuse soaps with harsh detergents and perfumes; these are often irritating to the skin.
Give your skin a break from over-cleansing. Only use soaps when necessary.


Rely on scrubbing or exfoliating ‘tools’ such as rough washcloths or loofahs, which often make eczema worse.
Test any new products on a small patch of skin to ensure they are safe and non-irritating. Forget to ask for samples! Ask to try before you buy – whether at the store or your doctor’s office.
Avoid jewelry or clothing that contains potential irritants such as nickel or itchy wool. Expose yourself to extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) – this includes hot baths and showers! Try washing with warm – not hot – water, and wearing loose-fitting clothing made of natural materials like cotton instead.
Take some time for yourself and focus on being calm and relaxed. Stress (if you can avoid it). Seek activities that bring joy and inner peace, and share your feelings with someone you trust.
Keep your fingernails short (try carrying a cardboard nail file to manage snags on the go). Scratch that itch! Resisting the urge to scratch can be next to impossible, but scratching can lead to broken skin, make flares worse, and lead to infection. Try applying a moisturizer or cool wet cloth instead.


A full list of approved products and more information can be found on the Eczema Society of Canada’s website at


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