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Do your hands, feet, back of your knees, any skin on your body get chapped, crack and itch like crazy? I’ve had eczema since I was little but this year has been by an far the absolute worst! I’ve found a few things that seem to work consistently to provide relief so I’m sharing Top Tips tor Avoid an Eczema Flare Up.
When I was a kid, I remember walking down our street to the doctor’s office. I was probably about 10 and I think I was by myself. I was wearing white Keds, ya know those ones, right? Well, when I got home my feet were in bad shape. They hurt and itched and I could see blood on my white shoes. I distinctly remember removing my shoe and being in serious pain. My feet have always been the worst hit by eczema. In between my toes will crack sometimes and it kills! My brother used to get it behind his knees. Eczema is more than just dry skin, it is a red, itchy, rash. There is no cure for it but you can find somethings to help.
We are coming up on our second anniversary living in Alabama. The first year, my skin was fine but back in September we were at my mother-in-law’s house a few hours south of us. We were staying the weekend and my hands started to itch bad! They felt so swollen and my skin felt tight. I was scratching my hands like crazy and was freaking out a little bit. By the time I got up in the morning, my hands were covered in red patches and my skin was bubbly looking and still itched. I decided to take a Benadryl thinking it was an allergy or something. Ever since then, I’ve been dealing with this issue. Itching was the only thing that provided relieve at first but I paid the price, dearly for doing that. It made things so bad. I did a photo session for a friend and my fingers looked so sickly that I wrapped them in bandages and gauze to hide how terrible they really looked.
It has gotten better with some treatments but the weather can’t seem to make up it’s mind on being warm or cold and when the temperatures shift, just like when I was a kid, the eczema seems to be at it’s worst. So this year has been terrible, well since September. I’ll get it under control and then the weather will shift and I start all over again. But there are some thing’s I’ve found that help and I’m sharing them in hope someone else might gain some relief from what I’ve tried. Unfortunately, eczema has no cure but it can be managed. Here’s what I have found are the top tips to avoid an eczema flare up.
1 – Avoid the heat
I like to take hot showers, like really hot showers. I wash dishes with hot water and my husband will use the water after and he calls me “alligator hands” because it’s so hot. I don’t know if alligators can really handle or if they enjoy hot water but my husband has been saying that for years. Well the hot water really wreaks havoc when I’m having a flare up of eczema. I found some long yellow, dish gloves and I have to use them, along with a long handled scrubber to do the dishes. I reduce the temperature on showers and get out as quick as possible and that seems to help. When my skin is really bad, it is near impossible for me to bathe my kids. Luckily, I have a great partner in life and we are able to balance one another out. He’s always been the main dish washer and he will fill in when I need some relief. When I notice a flare up is coming on, I pay special attention to really avoiding hot water and it helps lessen the outbreak.
You can also turn down the heat in your house. Avoid direct heat from heaters. But don’t take out all the heat and get cold because that leads me to number two.
2 – Stay out of the cold
If it’s really cold out, I have to bundle up and be sure avoid any cold plunges in water. That’s not to big of an issue here in Alabama but in Utah my skin would be the worst when it was about to snow and the temperatures were going to drop. The air is usually really dry in the cold and that dries out the skin. Using a humidifier and lots of moisturizers helps a lot. Again, it’s the extremes and the back and forth that seems to make it bad.
3 – Avoid rough fabrics
When I have a flare up, my skin is super sensitive. Even my kids going to hold my hand and their little fingernail slightly touching my skin can feel like someone slicing me with a knife. My jeans can feel like sandpaper. It can be intense. Wearing sweaters that are rough or dealing with jeans and buttons even can be too much. Wearing light cotton and soft fabrics really seems to help.
4 – Avoid fragrances and harsh ingredients
I used to love Bath & Body works line of lotions. They smell amazing but they just don’t work for my skin. When I’m not having a flare up, I can sneak in a little fragrance lotion or laundry detergent but sometimes that seems to be a trigger for an outbreak so now I go with fragrance free lotions, detergents, soaps, etc. Again, I use rubber gloves when it is really bad so I can keep my skin free of those harsh ingredients that can really mess with my skin. I recently tried to switch to Tom’s deodorant because I wanted something that was aluminum free and now I’m experiencing a little eczema outbreak and it’s the pits, I’m so punny. But seriously, it is uncomfortable so I’m switching to a sensitive one and will figure out aluminum free after this is cleared up.
5 – Avoid dairy
When the weather is changing and I can feel some itchiness, I let up on the dairy in my diet. I don’t know if there is any scientific backing on this but I’ve noticed that when I have a lot of dairy, my flare ups come on quick and more intense. When it’s been really bad, I’ve had to cut it out completely and I’ve noticed a significant difference. I try to pay specially attention to this and I think it’s helped avoid or lessen some of my flare ups. Other food allergies might be a trigger. You should chat with your doctor and see if they can test you for an allergy that might be triggering flare ups.
6 – Avoid stress
I’ve read in multiple places that stress can bring on an outbreak. I am pretty stress free in my life but I am a bit of an anxious worrier about things that are not necessarily even an issue. I’ve noticed that when I have a big outbreak, I was stressing or obsessing about something shortly before it hit and I think it played a part in triggering the outbreak. As I tell my toddler, I’m now telling myself to take a deep breath and calm down. Being stressed or worried just isn’t worth it for a number of reasons but especially when it comes to eczema.
These are ways that I try to avoid or lessen outbreaks. But what happens when you have an outbreak? I’ll be posting my favorite products later and will update it with a link. Do you have any other top tips to avoid an eczema flare up? Share in the comments below!