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Finding the Right Balance In Eczema

July 8, 2019

Often, I come across an advice that sounds contradictory when it comes to eczema treatment. I believe that various studies show different results as the mode, method, audience, location, and even the context of the study is usually different, so the results also tend to be different.

However, I’ve put together a list of common conundrums parents face when hearing about different eczema treatment methods of best practices.

To bathe or to not Bathe?

Most recent studies show that bathing kids with eczema is better, as it cleanses, and replenishes the skin. However, make sure that:

  • Water is not hot (lukewarm or even cooler is preferred)
  • Water is not hard (put a water softener on)
  • No harsh soap is used (use a gentle cleanser or no soap if not needed)
  • Soak and smear method works the best

To Use Soap or Not?

Most soaps and cosmetics are closer to 8-10 PH, which is alkaline. The use of soaps, water, creams and makeup on the skin can alter its pH considerably. Washing skin with a soap and water may change the skin’s pH by up to 2 points making it more alkaline and it may take over 6 hours to return back to normal baseline.

So, use cleansers, instead of soaps, to clean the body, which help maintain the PH balance of your skin and helps in eczema treatment effectively.

Go in the Sun or Not?

  • Sun, a good source of Vitamin D, which is good for the eczema skin. However, make sure that:
  • It’s not too hot, or underdress to avoid sweat and heat
  • Use sunblock, but make sure it’s for sensitive skin, such as Free and Clear brand.
  • Do not get sunburn
  • Moisturize with a lightweight (non-porous) cream before going outside
  • Make sure you check your local pollen levels. I always recommend Eczema Tracker app! High pollen will cause flare-ups and you may think it’s related to the sunlight, when in reality, it’s the pollen in the air.

Humidity good or bad?

This one is a little tricky because we often hear that eczema skin is dry, which causes flare-ups. However, it’s also proven that humidity can cause flare ups as well.

In my personal experience, flare-ups get worse when it’s both, hot and humid. If it’s a cold rainy day, skin flares get better. “Go to Hawaii” is what we often hear, but when I took my son to Hawaii, my son’s eczema was worse because it was hot and humid.

So, yes, humidity helps if the heat factor doesn’t play a role.

Turn on the AC or not?

For those who always live in “semi” hot weather, it’s difficult to not turn on the AC in summer. Although, heat makes eczema worse, so does dry air. So, turning on the AC always does harm if the skin is not properly moisturized. My recommendations are:

Moisturize even more if the AC is on, however, do turn on the AC if it’s hot

Use cool mist humidifier to put some moisture back in the air.

As with everything related to managing eczema, finding the right strategy for eczema treatment also varies person to person. Each eczema patient has a different tolerance level for different factors, so it’s important to recognize yours!

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