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  www.eczemahelp.ca.

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