Eczema Sufferers: 5 Mistakes You’re Making When Moisturising
Ok so before we start, short pop quiz.
For an eczema sufferer, what’s more important? Is it:
2. Slapping moisturiser on 10 times a day so you essentially resemble a human eel
Yup, you guessed it! Number 2 by a country mile.
This, unfortunately, is the inevitable truth when you live with a skin condition such as eczema.
Your life becomes a perpetual cycle of eat, sleep, moisturise, repeat (or at least that’s how it can feel somedays).
And now we’re here to tell you - that well worked moisturising routine you’ve perfected over the years? It might not be quite as wonderful as you think.
There are many common mistakes made by eczema sufferers when it comes to this seemingly simple task, so we’re here to provide some help and advice on the subject :)
In this article, you’ll find:
1. The symptoms of eczema (just briefly)
2. Why is it necessary to moisturise?
3. What types of moisturisers are the most effective for eczema?
4. 5 top mistakes you might be making and what to do instead
5. Further treatment options
Let’s get to it!
The symptoms of eczema (just briefly)
Before we dive into the meat of the sandwich, we’d just like to quickly set the stage.
If you suffer from any form of eczema, some common symptoms you might be experiencing are:
- Intense itch (like I want to scream from the top of a hill with no one around kind of itch)
- Dry, flaky skin
- Areas of swelling
- Oozing or crusting
- Inflammation or redness
You might have just one, or be super lucky and have the whole bunch. Regardless, it can make your life pretty damn miserable especially when ‘flare ups’ like to appear whenever the hell they like.
This leads us nicely into moisturising - one of the most important things you must do if you hope to have any ounce of control over your skin.
Why is it necessary to moisturise?
When you suffer from eczema it’s known you have a weakened or broken skin barrier. This means your skin is more likely to overreact to allergens and irritants in your close environment (leading to itchy skin).
It also makes it much harder for your skin to retain moisture, meaning it more often becomes dry, itchy or inflamed.
When you moisturise, it helps to protect the outermost layer of your skin known as the stratum corneum or skin barrier. This is especially important to restore and why you HAVE to build regular moisturising into your daily routine.
What types of moisturisers are the most effective for eczema?
When it comes to moisturisers, they’re identified by the % of water or oil in the product. The higher the oil content, the better the treatment should be for eczema as they’re more effective at forming a protective barrier over the skin.
This keeps moisture in, and irritants out. Just what we’re looking for.
The 3 possible options are:
From this list, ointments have the highest oil content and lotions the least. This should mean, in theory, they’re best for keeping your skin cool, calm and collected.
Ointments will be the most ‘greasy’ to touch - but this shouldn’t put you off, they can be highly effective at nourishing dry skin.
Overall, it’s about finding what works best for you. Everyone’s different. And what works so well for Bob next door, for you might just not cut the mustard.
So try and test different products and always, be patient :)
5 top mistakes you might be making and what to do instead
Right, the juicy stuff!
1. You’re not moisturising as soon as you get out of the shower
When you take a shower (or bath) you put moisture directly back into the skin. This I’m sure you already knew.
However if you’re not moisturising within 3 minutes of getting out (yes it is that specific!) you may lose all that benefit as the water your skin craves, evaporates.
The result? A nasty, dry, inflamed rebound. Yuck.
So yeh you get the idea - as soon as you’ve dried off (patting not rubbing in circles mind) get the greasy stuff on!
2. You’re unknowingly using a product with an ingredient you’re allergic to
I mean this is kinda dumb, but unfortunately all too common. We’ve spoken SO many times on the importance of identifying and staying away from your triggers.
So if you’re lucky enough to do a patch test and find a substance you’re allergic to, you must check the ingredients list of your moisturiser to be sure it isn’t present.
3. You never patch test
Just bought a new tub of moisturiser? Great! Got home and slapped it on head to toe? Not so great.
If you’re trying anything new when it comes to your skin, you have to patch test on a small, concealed part of your body first.
So take a pea size amount, rub it into your upper thigh, and wait. For maybe 48 hours.
If it makes you red, itchy or causes dry skin, chuck that tub in the bin!
4. You always opt for fragranced because “you like the smell”
No. Just plain no.
Fragranced or soap-based products irritate the skin and for eczema sufferers, this can be enough to spark a flare up. So even if it does “smell like a fresh summer morning” it really doesn’t belong on your skin.
The answer? Hypoallergenic, baby!
5. You always use your hand to dig out the next blob of moisturiser from the tub
This may seem trivial, but using your hand every time to dig out moisturiser from the vast tub you bought off Amazon, can lead to unwanted bacteria growth and contamination.
This in turn, can have an adverse effect onto your skin.
The simple solution is to utilise a prop (maybe a big spoon you stole from the kitchen) and wash it every time you use it. Simple.
Further treatment options
Even if you’re the queen (or king) of moisturising regularly, sometimes you just can’t avoid a flare up - it’s inevitable. And whilst moisturising is great, it might not be the most effective way at stopping that horrible need to itch.
Enter our very own plant-based calming spray!
Enriched with a blend of 3 traditional Chinese herbs trusted for 1000’s of years in Asian medicine, our soothing formula is deeply hydrating and works over time to help repair your damaged skin barrier.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial by nature, it’s steroid, paraben and fragrance free :) And the best way to get that flare up under control when it’s in a downward spiral!
So there we have it, some mistakes you may (or may not) have been making when moisturising your skin.
How many were you guilty of? Don’t worry, we won’t judge! Jump over to our Twitter page and join the conversation :)
The yan-yee team
- Controlling eczema by moisturising. (n.d.). Link
- Emollients. (2020). Link
- Atopic eczema. (2019). Link
- Skin-directed management of atopic dermatitis focus of new report. (2014). Link
- What is the stratum corneum? (2019). Link
- Medical definition of ointment. (2018). Link