Eczema - The Ultimate Guide 2022

 

We know, eczema sucks. 

In all of its wonderful forms and guises, it has the ability to completely turn your life upside down and transform it from unicorns and rainbows, to death and destruction. 

Planning a chilled weekend seeing friends? Not anymore! Your 3rd flare up of the month has something else to say about that. 

So, what can we do?

Either lay around at home in our pants feeling sorry for ourselves, or, maybe, read our Ultimate Guide? And remember that it is possible to live a life not entirely dictated by your skin. 

In the article below you’ll find: 

1) What is eczema?

2) Symptoms

3) Causes

4) 6 top tips for a simple home treatment plan 

What is eczema? 

Eczema is a chronic, non-infectious inflammatory skin condition. 

It can cause redness of the skin, itchiness and dry patches that become cracked and fissured. 

There are 7 types in total that you need to be aware of:

1) Atopic dermatitis

2) Contact dermatitis

3) Dyshidrotic eczema

4) Discoid eczema

5) Seborrheic dermatitis

6) Varicose eczema

7) Neurodermatitis 

Flare ups often occur at random and can be particularly stressful and emotionally draining for those suffering. 

And the best bit? No one really knows what causes it (yay!)

So although it’s more common amongst infants and children, it can also randomly crop up for adults later in life too. 

The key is understanding your triggers and finding the right balance between lifestyle changes and complimentary skincare products that can help manage (and hopefully prevent) your flare ups. 

What are the symptoms of eczema? 

A key point to note before we continue - eczema manifests itself in different ways for different people. 

So what atopic dermatitis looks like for you might be completely different compared to what it looks like for Bob next door. 

There are however common symptoms that every eczema sufferer will likely identify with.

In no particular order: 

Itchy skin (probably the most common and most stressful)

- Inflamed, irritated patches 

Dry, rough, leathery skin

- Scaly patches

- Crusting or weeping

You may have just one of these symptoms, or be one of the super lucky ones and have the whole bunch. Itching is what can become so damaging and lead to a predictable downward spiral for your skin.

You itch, you scratch, you stress - and your symptoms continue to get worse with no obvious escape.

You may suffer from symptoms continuously or they may suddenly appear in a ‘flare-up’ then go again - both are completely normal. 

Eczema can occur anywhere on the body however for babies it usually appears on the face - particularly the cheeks - and outer surfaces of the arms and legs. 

For children, it usually shows up behind the knees or inside the elbows. In adults it may concentrate in a more limited area, such as the hands or behind the neck. 

And for some people, eczema shows up wherever the hell it likes! You get the idea - it’s a bit of a lottery (just not the kind where you win a lovely prize at the end). 

Causes 

Now then - this is where it gets really interesting. 

Because you know what? When it comes to eczema, no one exactly knows what causes it. Experts believe it’s a combination between genes and triggers.  

People with eczema tend to have an overactive immune system that reacts more strongly to allergens from outside and inside the body. 

It is this reaction that then causes inflammation and itchiness of the skin. 

Those suffering with eczema also find it more difficult to retain moisture - leading to the dry, cracked appearance of the skin you often see. 

Although triggers can be different for everyone, there are of course some generic aspects we need to look at: 

1) Diet - it’s common to have a flare up after consuming certain food groups you might not know you are allergic to. Examples include: dairy, sugar, gluten, refined carbohydrates and red meat.

2) Changes in weather - especially prevalent when you go between hot and cold climates, or when winter rolls around. Cold weather often goes hand in hand with dry air - which can take all the moisture out of your skin.

3) Stress and anxiety - this is a biggy! And often one that’s overlooked. Emotional distress leads to a number of physiological responses in the body which have been tied to inflammation, a clear trigger for eczema sufferers.

4) Metals (especially nickel)

5) Soaps and household cleaners

6) Certain substances like wool

7) Cosmetics and scented bathing products 

Whilst this is only a very short list - it’s important to remember that finding your trigger is very much a trial and error process. 

It takes time and you guessed it, patience! 

6 top tips for a simple home treatment plan

1) yan-yee skincare calming spray

First on the list, our very own calming spray!

Designed to deeply nourish dehydrated skin and help enhance the skin barrier, our calming spray is enriched with 3 traditional Chinese herbs used for 1000's of years in the fight against eczema symptoms. 

Reinforced with probiotics and ceramides, it’s jam packed full of the stuff your sensitive skin will love. 

And the best part? It’s fragrance, paraben and steroid free! So you can spray away without a worry in the world. 

2) Take a step back, relax, rest, breathe

We mentioned stress, and the impact it can have onto the skin.

That’s why meditation, mindfulness (or just squeezing the heck out of that stress ball) is so important when it comes to controlling your flare ups.

The bottom line? Do whatever you can to try and relax and stay calm. 

3) Figure out (and avoid) your triggers!

We know, this is super tough. But really can’t stress enough the focus and energy it deserves. If you’re stuck on where to begin think about getting a patch test or trying an elimination diet. 

4) Moisturise daily

Stop spending that time after the shower staring blankly into the mirror, and slap moisturiser on straight away instead (ideally within 3 minutes). 

This helps to keep your skin barrier intact and fight off any unwanted irritants. 

5) Avoid unconscious scratching

Have you ever noticed when it comes to your eczema that sometimes you just start scratching, and aren’t even itchy? It’s a super common trait and something that you must be aware could be happening. 

When you scratch the skin you break open the barrier and leave yourself more at risk of allergens entering the body, further exacerbating any symptoms you might be experiencing. 

Our suggestion is to try a trick called habit reversal instead. So around the time you know you usually start scratching (think on the sofa at 8pm after dinner) grab a stress ball and keep your hands busy. 

Now this won’t change anything overnight, but is another useful tool in what should be a holistic approach to helping your skin remain healthy. 

6) Eat a healthy diet and maintain a consistent sleep routine

Not rocket science. Eat a healthy diet and try to keep a consistent sleep routine. You’ll thank yourself in 6 months time. 

Final word

We did it! Symptoms, causes and a simple home treatment plan for eczema. 

What have we missed? Jump over to our Twitter page and let us know! 

With care, 

The yan-yee team 

Sources 

- What is eczema. (n.d.). Link

- An overview of the different types of eczema. (n.d.). Link

- Understanding eczema in children. (n.d.). Link

- Rinaldi G. (2019). The itch-scratch cycle: A review of the mechanisms. Link 

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