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What is Eczema?

Eczema or atopic dermatitis affects 1 in 3 Australians1 and can have a debilitating effect on a sufferer and their quality of life.

Eczema

 

When you have very dry or eczema prone skin, the protective outer layer is more susceptible to damages to the skin barrier, meaning it loses moisture easily and can be more receptive to allergens, irritants, bacteria and environmental factors which can lead to red, dry, tight and itchy skin.

 

Symptoms of Eczema

  • Excessive skin dryness
  • Intense itching
  • Scaling – dry, rough and scaly skin
  • Redness/rash-caused by scratching and flare-ups
  • Sensitive skin – high sensitivity to irritants and allergens
  • Itchy skin

Dermexa is not a treatment for eczema but is suitable for daily care of eczema prone skin. Please see your dermatologist if you experience the above symptoms

Common causes of Eczema

Identifying and avoiding your trigger or triggers are an important part of your eczema management plan.

 

IRRITANTS

IRRITANTS

ALLERGENS

ALLERGENS

ENVIRONMENT

ENVIRONMENT

FOOD

FOOD

STRESS

STRESS

IRRITANTS

Some things can make eczema worse. They are called irritants. Over time, you’ll learn which things cause problems for your skin.

Common irritants are:

  • Soaps detergents & dryer sheets
  • Bubble-bath & certain shampoos
  • Fragrances & dyes
  • Wool or other coarse fabrics

Tips:

  • Wash new clothes before putting them
  • Use dye-free and fragrance-free detergents and avoid using dryer sheets
  • Use sunscreens made for sensitive skin

ALLERGENS

For some people, their skin gets itchy and inflamed when they’re in contact with certain things, causing an allergic reaction.

Some common allergens are:

  • House and dust mites
  • Pets
  • Pollen (seasonal)
  • Molds

Tips:

  • Vacuum and wet-dust the bedroom floor and furniture frequently
  • Keep soft toys to a minimum

ENVIRONMENT

Extremes of temperature and humidity may trigger a flare-up of eczema symptoms.

Common environmental triggers include:

  • Hot or cold temperature
  • High or low humidity
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Pollution

Tips:

  • Avoid getting too hot or too cold.
  • Maintain an even temperature and humidity in your home

FOOD

Some children with atopic eczema have a food allergy which can make symptoms worse. In general, it is young children with severe eczema who may have a food allergy.

The most common foods which trigger eczema include:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wheat

Tips:

  • If you suspect a food is making eczema symptoms worse, see your doctor. You may be asked to keep a diary to help identify one or more suspect foods.

STRESS

Stress doesn’t cause eczema, but stress, anger and frustration can make symptoms worse. Stress can also cause habit scratching. It is thought that scratching can make itch worse, which makes you want to scratch more, etc. This is called the itch-scratch cycle and can make eczema worse.

Tips:

  • Keep your fingernails short.
  • Consider cotton gloves or mittens at night if your child tends to scratch in his/her sleep

DAILY CARE

Careful management of eczema prone skin can help reduce dry, itchy skin and prevent flare-ups. Proper bathing and moisturizing are essential for the daily care of eczema prone skin. Moisturisers can help trap water in the skin, helping to keep the skin barrier intact and less likely to crack. It is important to continue a regular moisturizing routine even when your child does not have a flare.

 

An effective skin care regimen can help restore and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, helping to prevent the recurrence of dry, itchy skin.

 

BATHING TIPS

BATHING TIPS

  • Use lukewarm water when washing your child
  • Use a mild, non-drying, fragrance free cleanser
  • Avoid body sponges and washcloths
  • Gently pat skin dry with a towel

 

MOISTURIZING TIP

MOISTURIZING TIPS

  • Apply moisturisers to wet skin (within 3 minutes of taking a bath or shower)
  • If prescribed by your child’s doctor, apply any special medications first and then liberally apply moisturiser. For some medications you may be advised to wait 15-20 minutes after applying before applying moisturiser, so be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions
  • Consider using a moisturiser with oat, such as AVEENO® Dermexa Moisturizing Cream, to help reduce the itch and keep skin hydrated
  • Reapply throughout the day

 

MORE TIPS

- Keep your fingernails short
- Wear open-weave, loose-fitting, cotton-blend clothing
- Maintain an even temperature and humidity in your home
- Wash new clothes before putting them on
- Use dye-free and fragrance-free detergents and avoid using dryer sheets
- Use sunscreens made for sensitive skin
- As always, talk to your child’s doctor if you have any questions or concerns

TREATMENT

A health care professional will advise you on the best way to treat an eczema flare up, which will usually include an over the counter cream. Make sure you treat a flare-up as soon as possible to minimise the symptoms. However careful management of eczema prone skin can help to soothe dry, itchy skin2