If you have ever had to deal with eczema, you will hopefully appreciate this post! My oldest daughter and my youngest son (as well as myself) either have or have had eczema. It was especially bad as babies/toddlers and has improved over the years. My daughter's cleared up on it's own, but she still has dry skin and a few eczema patches that usually are only bothersome a few times a year. My son, who is 4, is still dealing with it. It has gotten better over the years, but he definitely has issues throughout the year, especially in the fall and winter. Mine cleared up when I was young, but I remember that I used to scratch so bad in my sleep, that I would wake up with blood under my fingernails. I know that's pretty gross, but that is how bad eczema can be. My mom even tried having me sleep in gloves! Back then (because I'm ancient and all) there were not many products available for the treatment of eczema. I remember taking a lot of oatmeal baths!
So, what is eczema? It is "a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry, itchy skin and visible skin rash. For eczema sufferers, the skin has a deficiency in the external layer that allows the moisture to escape and causes chronic dryness. When skin is dry and unprotected, irritants can reach the sensitive layers below and cause uncomfortable itch flare-ups. Therefore, people with eczema are more susceptible to irritants or allergens, which trigger inflammation-producing cells that result in itching and redness." Allergens are certainly a trigger for my son. Other common triggers may include soaps and fragrances, wool, rough textures, cold and dry weather, and heat and sweating. The flare ups are pretty easy to spot because the skin is red and inflamed, dry and very itchy. You can run your hand over a patch and feel that it is rough, and sometimes it gets scaly looking.
If you or your child has any of the above symptoms, but you are not sure if it is eczema, you can see your family doctor for a diagnosis. You can also look for indicators such as location. Eczema typically affects children around their face, especially around the eyes, inside of elbows and back of knees. My son has problems behind the knees, the top of his feet and sometimes the inside of his elbows and on his cheeks. (Sometimes both cheeks - above and below the waist if ya know what I mean!) In adults, the most common areas are neck, elbows and back of the knees.
So with eczema being a chronic problem for so many people (it’s estimated that eczema affects 35 million Americans: 1-3% of adults, and 10-20% of children - from NeosporinEssentials.com) What can be done? Some seasonal eczema tips from Dr. Peter Lio, M.D. (an Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology & Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School Of Medicine) include keeping seasonal allergies in check, managing stress, and focusing on a skincare routine with regular bathing and moisturizing, as well as, using topical medications when needed. It is also important to keep the skin warm and protected when outside in the winter, keep a protective moisturizer on the exposed skin to prevent windburn and you may want to consider talking to your doctor about supplementing vitamin D during the winter months, as many people are deficient and this may play a role in eczema. Getting a humidifier for bedrooms to help add moisture to the dry air is also a helpful measure.
There are also many OTC products now available. The #1 Doctor recommended brand of over-the-counter topical antibiotic ointments, NEOSPORIN® has created NEOSPORIN® ESSENTIALS™— a line of skin care products designed for people with eczema including a Daily Moisturizing Cream, Daily Body Wash, and Anti-Itch Cream. Each product has a unique RELIPID™ formula, which contains a lipid, humectant, emollient and botanical blend to help retain moisture that is essential for healthy looking skin.
What can these products do for you? The ECZEMA ESSENTIALS™ Daily Moisturizing Cream goes beyond ordinary daily lotions to relieve dryness, itch and irritation due to eczema while also helping to strengthen and restore the skin’s natural barrier function, with fast results. It also relieves itchy skin due to eczema on contact and contains colloidal oatmeal, a skin protectant that helps relieve dryness, itch and irritation due to eczema.
The MOISTURE ESSENTIALS™ Daily Body Wash is effective for cleansing even the most dry, sensitive skin, and contains gentle moisturizers for non-drying cleansing. I am looking forward to trying this for my son. I am hoping it will help cut down on the number of flare-ups he has during the winter months.
ECZEMA ESSENTIALS™ Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream contains a dual-action formula to provide fast relief of itch flare-ups due to eczema while it moisturizes to restore visibly healthier skin. Hydrocortisone has been very helpful for us, and recommended by our pediatrician.
So what does this mean for all of us eczema sufferers? R-E-L-I-E-F!! It is not fun to have your child waking up in the middle of the night scratching and crying because he is itching so much. I hope we can all now have an itch-free winter!