The Skin(ny) on Eczema

Winter seems to be grinding on and even though the days are getting longer, skin seems to be getting drier by the day. For many people, a daily application or two of moisturizing lotion can keep the creeping dryness away, but for the 316 million Americans (1 in 10) who deal with eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, it’s not quite that simple. This includes my little pal Harlow who has not only had a few eczema flares in the time I’ve known her, but has also managed to convince me to become her personal horse a time or two, as evidenced below.

If your skin (or your child’s skin) looks a little something like this, you may have eczema:

Eczema can be complex and frustrating, especially in the middle of a flare. Hopefully what you read below will help simplify things and provide some clarity when it comes to treating and healing your skin and choosing products that will serve you and your skin the best.

What is it? An inflammatory skin condition. It can come and go or it can be more constant for some people.
What does it look like?Red, itchy skin that can look patchy and rough and can be pretty sensitive. There can sometimes be crusting and oozing as well.
What causes it?There’s no known direct cause but it seems to be a combination of genes and various triggers.
What are the triggers?They’re different for everyone but can include things like metals, cigarette smoke, soaps, cleaners, fragrances, certain fabrics, topical antibiotics, preservatives, and products containing alcohol.
How do you treat it?
Check out this helpful handout from the National Eczema Association.
Clean: take one shower or bath daily using lukewarm water. Avoid hot water. Kids and babies may need less frequent bathing.
Treat: pat skin dry after bathing and apply any prescription creams.
Moisturize: liberally apply lotion to all body surface areas. Reapply throughout the day. Don’t be shy with the lotion!
What’s the best lotion?
I like Aveeno, Eucerin, and Vanicream. Aquaphor is good as well. Many are available in generic forms, as well.
See a full list of NEA recommended products here.
What about soaps?
There are many soaps and cleansers that can be appropriate for eczema patients. It can be hard to know what to avoid in these so check out this list of NEA recommended products.
Stop the itchItching and scratching leads to increased inflammation and has the potential to open up the skin for infection. Cold compresses, patting the skin instead of scratching, breathable and soft clothing, apple cider vinegar baths, and moisturizing regularly are all things that can help stop the itch.
Other tips and tricksDrink plenty of water! A hydrated body means skin will be less dry.
Test products on a small area before using to know if they agree with your skin.
Wear loose fitting, cotton clothing.
Wash new clothing before wearing.
Avoid extreme temperatures.
There’s an App for that? If you’re someone who enjoys technology, you can check out the EczemaWise app which allows you to track you (or your child’s) symptoms, triggers, and treatments all in one convenient place.
(National Eczema Association, 2021)

Ask For Help

If you’re having trouble managing your eczema on your own, see your primary care provider or a dermatologist. There are medications that can help and you don’t need to go it alone!

The National Eczema Association

The National Eczema Association is a wealth of information when it comes to managing eczema including lifestyle modifications, natural remedies (like turmeric, coconut oil, ayurveda, and accupuncture), lists of approved products (hundreds of them), and tips for parents, those newly diagnosed, and patients of varying ages. See their website if you want to dive deeper into caring for your eczema or if you want to explore some treatments you may not have tried.

Found something that works for you?

Sharing is caring! Not everything works for everybody and sometimes people find little tricks that prove helpful in managing chronic conditions. If you’ve had luck in keeping eczema at bay, I’d love if you left a comment to share with others what’s worked for you!

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Eczema pictures: What an eczema rash looks like. (2019, September 12). Retrieved February 02, 2021, from

Eczema symptoms & causes. (2020, August 27). Retrieved February 02, 2021, from

National Eczema Association. (2021, January 26). Retrieved February 02, 2021, from

Treatment for itchy skin: Itch relief: Itchy scalp remedies. (2020, August 26). Retrieved February 02, 2021, from

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