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Get relief from eczema-prone skin with dermatologist-recommended eczema products.
What is eczema?
Eczema is a common condition that causes the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. If you have eczema, you’re not alone. Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, is a common skin condition, and is estimated to impact between 10-15% of Canadians. (source: Eczema Society of Canada)
Eczema can appear anywhere on the body, but it is most often seen on or near:
Eczema can also appear on the cheeks, neck, upper chest, and around the eyes, including eyelids. On your baby, the diaper area is usually spared.
Try not to scratch! It can cause redness and swelling and make your eczema symptoms worse, especially itching.
Living with eczema
Eczema is thought to be a genetic condition. Most people will see it in childhood, but it can also first appear well into adulthood. Approximately 10 percent of all people are at some time affected by atopic dermatitis.22 People with eczema often have other conditions, like asthma or hay fever.23
There is no cure for eczema but practicing good skin care will go a long way towards managing it — a daily regimen of bathing and moisturizing is a good place to start.
The “itch-scratch” cycle
Dry, irritated skin itches, which makes you want to scratch. One of the problems with scratching is that it triggers the release of a chemical called histamine. Histamine causes more inflammation and more itching. This is known as the “itch-scratch cycle.” 24
Dry, sensitive skin is a symptom of eczema, but eczema also causes an intense itch.
Managing Common Triggers
An important part of managing sensitive skin and eczema is identifying and avoiding your triggers.
At the same time, you want to make sure you are bathing properly and moisturizing.25Try the AVEENO® Eczema Care Itch Relief Balm and AVEENO® Eczema Care Body Wash, which contain colloidal oat to help relieve the itching and irritation of eczema. For baby eczema, try the AVEENO® BABY Eczema Care Moisturizing Cream and AVEENO® BABY Eczema Care Wash products. All of these products have been awarded the Eczema Society of Canada’s Seal of Acceptance.
Common irritants that can make sensitive skin and eczema worse include:
- Dryer sheets
- Bubble bath
- Some shampoos
- Disinfectants (chlorine)
- Fragrances and dyes
- Wool and other coarse fabrics
Avoid irritants by:
- Washing new clothes before wearing them
- Using products that don’t contain dyes or fragrances
- Using sunscreens formulated for sensitive skin
Indoor and outdoor allergens can cause itchy, inflamed skin.
- House dust mites
- Pollen (seasonal)
Tips for reducing house dust mites:
- Vacuum and wet-dust bedroom floors and furniture on a regular basis.
- Don’t collect a lot of soft toys and wash them frequently.
- Grooming pets regularly to reduce pet dander.
Flare-ups of sensitive skin or eczema symptoms can be triggered by extreme temperatures and humidity, including:
- Hot or cold temperatures
- High or low humidity
- Cigarette smoke
Tip: Maintain an even temperature and humidity level in your home.
Food allergies in children
Food allergies are not common in children with atopic eczema — fewer than 1 in 10 experience allergic reactions to food.26 Food allergies are more often seen in young children with severe eczema. The most common foods that may trigger eczema include:
- Dairy products
- Nuts and seeds
Tip: Talk to your child’s doctor if you think a food is making eczema symptoms worse. You may be asked to keep a diary to help identify one or more suspect foods.
Stress, anger and frustration can make eczema symptoms worse. Stress can also cause habitual scratching, which in turn can cause more inflammation and itching, making the skin rash worse.
Tip: If your child scratches, keep their fingernails cut short. Wearing cotton gloves or mittens at night may help protect a child who scratches in their sleep.
Strengthen your skin’s microbiome
Think of your skin’s microbiome as a barrier wall that protects everything beneath it. It lets in water and nutrients and keeps intruders out. Dry, itchy skin is more prone to getting out of balance which can lead to redness, itching and dryness.4,5
Your skin’s microbiome needs to maintain certain bacteria for healthy-looking skin.
Tip: Look for skincare products that contain prebiotics that encourage the presence of good bacteria, like colloidal oatmeal.6,7
Proper bathing and moisturizing are important
An effective skin care regimen can help restore and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, helping to prevent the recurrence of itchy, dry, irritated uncomfortable skin.
Use a mild cleanser to help prepare your skin for topical therapies you may use.
Use a moisturizer to help retain water in your skin. Hydrated skin is more flexible and less likely to crack. Be sure to practice a regular moisturizing routine even when you’re not experiencing a flare.
AVEENO® Colloidal Oatmeal formulations work by sealing in moisture to soothe and restore the skin’s moisture barrier.
- Use lukewarm water
- Wash with a mild cleanser that is non-drying and fragrance-free
- Be gentle when drying your skin – don’t rub
- Don’t use body sponges or washcloths
- Moisturizers should be applied to damp skin or within 3 minutes of taking a bath or shower.
- If you or your child have been prescribed an eczema product, apply it first followed by a generous amount of moisturizer. After applying some medications, you may be advised to wait 15-20 minutes before applying a moisturizer. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
- Try a baby eczema product such as AVEENO® Baby Eczema Care Moisturizing Cream for dry, delicate skin, or an eczema product for you, like AVEENO® Eczema Care Moisturizing Cream or Eczema Care Itch Relief Balm These moisturizers contain colloidal oat to help relieve the itching and irritation of eczema.
If you have any questions or concerns about you or your child’s eczema, talk to your doctor.
26. Barnetson RS, Rogers M. Childhood atopic eczema. BMJ. 2002;324(7350):1376-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1123328/