Eczema is a skin condition caused by inflammation of the skin that can appear on any part of the body. Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopic eczema, is the most common form of the many forms of eczema and often runs in families.
Atopic eczema is a long-lasting condition that tends to flare periodically and then subside. Typically, eczema causes the skin to become itchy, red, and dry, even cracked and leathery. It may be accompanied by allergic conditions like asthma or hay fever. The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but the current thinking is that it is caused by a combination of factors including genetics, an overactive immune system, environment, and defects in the skin barrier that allow moisture out and germs in. Atopic eczema is common in children, typically appearing between 3 and 12 months, but it can occur at any age. Factors that may trigger eczema include stress, heat and sweat, cold, dry skin, dry climates and contact with irritating substances such as woollen and synthetic fabrics and soap. No cure has been found for atopic dermatitis, but treatments and self-care measures can help to relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks.
If you are worried that you or your child may have eczema or allergies, please visit your doctor for medical diagnosis and treatment.
Prevention and Treatment of Atopic Eczema
- Take an oral allergy or anti-itch medication to help reduce itching
- Apply an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion to the affected area
- Moisturise your skin at least twice a day paying special attention to your legs, arms, back and sides of your body
- Avoid scratching
- Apply cool, wet compresses
- Sprinkle warm bath water with baking soda or uncooked or colloidal oatmeal and soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then pat dry
- Use an unscented, hydrating moisturiser all over while your skin is still damp after a bath or shower
- Choose mild Sulfate-free soaps without dyes or perfumes
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air inside your home
- Wear cool, smooth-textured clothing such as cotton and silk
- Treat stress and anxiety which can worsen atopic eczema
The elave products listed are particularly suited to eczema prone skin.