How to Handle an Eczema Flare Up
Once, I was controlled by my dyshidrotic eczema but that has changed. I now feel proactive and know how to handle a flare up and this is what I want to share with you.
There are many different factors to consider including diet, lifestyle, chemicals your body encounters, stress and even weather changes. Here are the steps I took to clear up my own skin condition.
Note: I still have flare ups from time to time. I now know what triggers me and I know what to do when I have one. This puts ME in control of my condition rather than the other way around.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional. I am a mother and I have suffered from dyshidrotic eczema since 2000. This list of what to do in case of an eczema flare up is based on my own personal experiences and successes. When following the advice of other people always do your own research and listen to your own body.
3 Things To Do When You Have An Eczema Flare Up Or Outbreak:
1. Control the Itch
Do NOT scratch! No, really!
Scratching makes the itch worse and inflames the skin and if you begin scratching it is very hard to stop. Then your eczema is on fire, you can feel it in your teeth and likely you are drawing blood. At this point, it takes much more time to heal your damaged skin and you are open to infection as well.
SO DON’T SCRATCH IT!
- Use a cloth or paper towel wet with cold water. Wrap it over the inflamed skin. Keep dipping, wringing and replacing the cloth as needed until the burning and inflammation is controlled.
- Apply an anti-inflammatory herbal skin salve.
- You may need to use a prescription steroid cream from a general practitioner or allergist when the attack is severe enough because it can be necessary to nip it in the bud while you examine the rest of your lifestyle. Note: This is my last resort!
2. Protect Your Hands
When you are having a flare-up or acute attack you MUST protect your skin!
- Minimize ALL hand washing!
- STOP using all antibacterial hand soaps/sanitizers. Use instead a simple, gentle, unscented hand soap or make your own. Download my Easy DIY Hand Soap for Eczema Sufferers.
- After washing your hands with your gentle hand soap, dry and apply an emollient, nourishing, long-lasting tallow balm like Tallowed Touch™ Tallow Balm.
If you are vegetarian, you may wish to choose a skin cream made from shea butter, extra virgin coconut oil, jojoba, avocado or olive oil with beeswax. Note: Always choose Organic, Extra Virgin and Cold-Pressed oils when possible.
- USE gloves for any kind of washing including: dishes, clothing, automobiles, toys, food, babies, dogs, hair ect… Note: If you are allergic to latex, nitrile gloves work great. Wearing cotton liners underneath your gloves helps even more.
- For Severe Outbreaks – At night, cover your hands (or affected skin) in a nourishing tallow balm or a thick all-natural vegetarian cream and then put on cotton gloves (or wrap a cotton cloth over the area) in order to keep the cream in place.
3. Observe and Take Note of Factors That May Have Caused The Flare-Up/Outbreak
This is one of the most important steps and it takes time, research and experimentation.
- Diet: Note what you have been eating recently. Keep a food diary.
Common irritants include:
- Refined White Flour
- Refined White Sugar
- Processed Foods
- Lemons (This woman was allergic to them – see her post here)
- Weather: Temperature changes tend to affect dry skin conditions.
- Stress: This is definitely a factor!
- Do A Commercial Product Purge:
- Look at all of the products that touch your skin and replace with eco-friendly, unscented or low scented products. Better yet, Make Them Yourself!
- Make it a habit to read the labels on every product or food that you buy.
- Examples of Household Products that may be damaging your skin:
- Hand, bar, shower or bath soaps
- Skin creams
- Laundry detergents
- Dish detergents
- Dryer sheets
- Synthetic fragrances
- Cleaning products
- Check Your Jewelry: Many people have allergies to nickel.
- Check Your Clothing: Cloth can affect your skin as well.
- Check Your House / Yard For Irritants:
- Dust Mites
- Animal Dander
You may also choose to go to a dermatologist where they can do allergy testing to see exactly what you are allergic to. For some people this option may not be feasible, while others may want to do this first. Either way, follow the steps that I have outlined.
These are the steps that I take to control my dyshidrotic eczema flare-ups and outbreaks. I went from being controlled by it to controlling it. YOU CAN TOO!
Have you ever suffered from dyshidrotic eczema or other itchy dry skin condition?
What has helped you the most? Have I missed anything?
Feel free to share your experience and photos of your condition so that we can help to educate other people about these conditions so that those seeking resources can find it here