Only a person with eczema can understand just how frustrating an episode can be…

As if patchy red skin wasn’t bad enough, the itching that accompanies it is unbearable. But the more you scratch, the more inflamed your skin becomes, the itchier it gets!

Eczema is a common skin problem many people deal with, and it can become worse in winter. Luckily, gentle, specialised skincare and a few simple changes may give your skin exactly what it needs to stop the flare-ups and return to normal.

Check out our top skincare tips that you should always follow if you suffer from eczema

Read more: Chemical vs physical exfoliators – which are better?

1. Get a humidifier

If you live in Gauteng, you know just how dry the air can be in winter. Cold, dry air can make an eczema episode worse or trigger a flare-up. Do what you can to keep at least the room that you sleep in as humid as possible. Bonus, humidifiers also help keep your airways and nasal passages from drying out, so you’re also less likely to get sick!

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2. Turn the taps to cold

Warming up in a bath or shower might feel amazing, but spending too long under very hot water decreases your skin’s ability to retain moisture. This makes skin dry, which in turn can make any existing eczema patches worse, or lead to an inflammation outbreak.

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3. Avoid certain foods

Though rare, food allergies can trigger bad cases of eczema. Some of the common foods that can trigger a reaction are milk, eggs, wheat, fish and soy. If you suspect your eczema is diet related, stop eating that food for at least a month and see if it improves. You can also go for an allergy test for a definitive answer to whether your eczema is food related or not.

4. Use less soap

We tend to overdo it when it comes to using soap, but a little goes a long way. In severe cases, try replacing your regular soap with aqueous cream – many people have found that this does wonders for their itchy skin. If you can’t give up your soap, make sure you’re only using fragrance-free soaps for sensitive skin.

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5. Coconut crazy

Coconut oil is famous for it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Adding coconut oil to your skincare routine may help, alongside any prescriptions that have been advised by your doctor.

6. Avoid pump products

Products that come in tubs usually have thicker formulas than creams that have to go through a pump. Thicker formulas tend to stay on your skin for longer, keeping your skin soft, supple and itch free for a good few hours.

7. Keep cream EVERYWHERE

The easiest way to make sure your skin is always moisturised is to keep your moisturiser with you wherever you go. We like to keep a tube of rich, fragrance-free cream in the following spots:

  • Cubbyhole of the car
  • Office drawer
  • Handbag
  • Bedside table
  • Next to the kitchen and bathroom sinks

8. Stay slightly damp

It may sound uncomfortable but when you’re finished with your shower or bath, use a towel to pat your skin. Don’t wipe or rub as this can irritate eczema-prone skin. Make sure you don’t dry your skin completely, but leave it slightly damp. As soon as you can, apply your preferred cream (from a tub) as soon as you can to seal in the moisture and stay hydrated for longer.

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