When eczema flares up, it can be incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. So many things can set it off that knowing how to deal with it can be essential to save yourself from the discomfort, embarrassment, and pure inconvenience. We reached out to Rachel Nazarian, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City to give her recommendations for how to get rid of eczema.
"Eczema, also referred to as an atopic dermatitis, refers to a condition where sensitivity of the skin causes it to be easily inflamed and irritated," says Nazarian, who explains that there are many everyday things that can cause eczema to flare up. "Common causes of flares include washing with hot water, harsh surfactants or foaming cleansers, and perfumes and fragrances," she lists. "Oftentimes people with eczema find that even mild day-to-day products, such as detergent and soaps, can flare their skin."
Take brief, lukewarm showers. "I usually recommend that all of my patients take brief, lukewarm showers," explains Nazarian. Avoiding extreme temperatures or an excess of time in the water can reduce your chance of irritating the skin.
Only wash bacteria-harboring areas of the body. Nazarian advises to only wash bacteria-harboring areas of the body, "such a the armpits, groin, and feet," to limit the amount of contact with other areas of the skin that could become inflamed from washing. "I encourage all of my patients to use Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar ($5), which is hydrating, gentle, and contains no perfumes."
Use Vanicream. "Following the shower, I recommend my patients use a cream called Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream ($13), which is very gentle and will help improve skin strength," says Nazarian.
Moisturize. "Moisturize with a moisturizer that will help improve the strength and condition of the skin," suggests Nazarian.
Switch all laundry detergent and softeners. As a final precaution, Nazarian says she recommends patients "switch all their laundry detergent and softeners to sensitive skin types, which means it contains no added fragrances or conditioners."
Learn more about eczema and five other skin conditions.