Itching to beat eczema?

If you’ve ever had eczema you know how painful it can be. Not only can it be physically painful — often leading to sleepless nights and reduced productivity — but the disease often inflicts an emotional toll as well. People with eczema often feel embarrassed by the dry, red, and scaly skin lesions they get during flare-ups.

Eczema, a condition that can cause skin to become red, irritated, itchy and/or blistered, varies in severity from person to person. The areas most affected are behind the knees, around the elbows and sometimes on the hands and face. Symptoms can range from mild, where the skin is dry, hot and itchy to severe where the skin becomes broken, raw and bleeding. (Read more on the symptoms and potential triggers of eczema.)

Managing eczema

Use a multi-level treatment to help manage the severity and duration of eczema flare-ups. It is important to follow this routine even when a flare-up has not occurred. Keep in mind that an eczema flare-up often begins as an itch that leads to a rash, and scratching can worsen the condition. Through a simple cleansing and hydrating routine, the chance of itching and flare-ups of eczema can be significantly reduced.

Experts recommend this skin-care regiment, even when flare-ups are not present:

Keep skin clean of dirt and bacteria by using gentle, soap-free, non-irritating cleansers. Skin cleansers should be fragrance and sulphate free. Products such as Spectro Jel Sensitive Skin Cleanser and unscented Dove Delicate Cream Oil Body Wash not only cleanse the skin but prepare it for eczema treatment.

When it comes to bathing, baths are usually better than showers. Water temperature should not be hot, but lukewarm. Again, when bathing be sure to avoid all perfumed products and bubble baths. (To help with itching, you can sprinkle bathwater with baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or a finely ground oatmeal that is made for the bathtub such as Aveeno.) Steer clear of body sponges and washcloths since the friction can irritate skin and lead to a flare-up. Rinse shampoo and conditioner carefully, preferably in a way that avoids rubbing the skin.

After bathing, be sure to dry yourself carefully, brushing your skin rapidly with the palms of your hands or gently patting with a towel.

Note: Be cautious of irritants in other grooming products such as perfumes, shaving cream and make-up as they can be triggers for a flare-up.

Restore and protect the skin barrier with moisturizing creams to help keep skin well-hydrated and keep irritants out. Moisturizers should be non-irritating, fragrance free, and emollient based. Keep in mind that moisturizers lock in the skin’s own moisture to prevent dryness and cracking, and emollients are key in protecting against moisture loss. Consider trying Spectro EczemaCare Intense Rehydration Cream, Cliniderm Cream or Prevex Cream to help restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier during and between flare-ups.

To seal in moisture, apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp, preferably within 3 minutes of bathing. Pay special attention to your legs, arms, back and the sides of your body.

If you do experience a flare-up, you can treat eczema with a medicated cream that reduces inflammation and moisturizes the skin. Treatment often includes cortisone or other topical creams. Spectro EczemaCare Medicated Cream is a moderate, topical steroid that is available without a prescription*, for use on adults over the age of 12.


To read more about eczema, click here.

Watch this video on eczema flare-ups.

*Non Rx Status may vary by province.

Photo © Stanley