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Eczema health centre

10 tips for women living with eczema

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Living with eczema can sometimes feel like a bit of a battle to stay on top of your condition. It's worth it though because if you have a good skincare routine and avoid triggers you can help prevent flare-ups and relieve symptoms.

If you have adult eczema you are not alone. There are approximately 8 million people in the UK with the skin condition. Most are children but there are also an estimated 1 in 12 adults whose eczema continues into adulthood or who develop it for the first time as a grown up.

1. Moisturise

Moisturising is the mainstay of all eczema management. Using an emollient cream on your skin several times a day will help your skin function better. Drier skin is more prone to cracking and bleeding. Your GP will be able to talk to you about the best type of moisturiser to use for your skin.

Rebecca Marriage from East Sussex is in her 40s and has had eczema all of her life. She says: "I can pretty much guarantee that there is no miracle method of keeping eczema under control. I'm afraid the boring answer is, it comes down to careful management and watching out for the tell-tales signs of a major flare-up."

2. Avoid skin irritants

Irritants can make your skin itchier or cause a flare-up. Avoid soap, bubble and foam bath and shower gels, instead use a moisturiser to wash with as a soap substitute.

"Soap can be particularly bad for eczema," says consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto, who is spokesperson from the British Skin Foundation. "Select fragrance-free soaps and shampoos where possible, and, if necessary, dermatological-recommended specialist products."

Symptoms are often triggered by irritants like cleaning fluids, so if this is the case wear gloves when doing chores and housework. Use a non-biological washing product for your clothes and avoid using a fabric conditioner as this could make your skin itchier. Use a hypoallergenic detergent instead.

3. Keep cool

Don't get too hot as heat can make eczema itchier. In your bedroom keep the temperature cool and wear loose-fitted clothing which you can layer to regulate your own temperature.

Also, when taking a bath or shower don't have it too hot, make it warm or lukewarm instead.

4. Cotton or silk

Wool and synthetic fabrics like nylon can irritate eczematous skin so choose cotton clothing or maybe cotton-blend material instead. The same goes for bedding, make sure your sheets and duvet covers are of a material like cotton or even silk so they don't make you feel too itchy or too hot at night.

5. Never scratch

Easy enough to say, but hard to achieve in practice. Scratching makes eczema raw, irritated and bleed and be more liable to infection. Repeated scratching of the same area can cause a thickening of the skin, which in turn makes it itchier. Keep fingernails short and wear gloves in bed if you need them to stop unconscious scratching.

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