Some steps can be taken to prevent eczema, to prevent flare-ups or to reduce its severity. It is best to know what triggers your eczema as this will make it easier for you to know what to avoid.
Some of the ways to prevent eczema include:
- Apply moisturisers (moisturising lotion) to your skin frequently – at least once every day. The frequency of application may be determined by how dry your skin and/or the weather is. The moisturiser will keep your skin soft and prevent it from drying out or cracking. This reduces the ability of harmful substances to enter your skin through the cracks/gaps and irritate your skin.
- Avoid using harsh detergents or use gloves when washing (this might seem ridiculous but it is far better than having to deal with your eczema getting worse or recurring).
- Wetness can irritate eczematous skin. So, you should wear gloves when doing any work that requires putting your hands in water.
- Don’t wash your hands too frequently.
- And dry your hands with soft towel whenever you wash it. This is because wetness irritates eczematous skin.
- While showering, use lukewarm water. Water that is hot or cold can trigger eczema, as hot or cold temperatures are triggers.
- Dry your skin properly with a soft towel after showering.
- Use mild lotions with little or no fragrance. You might have to use a lotion that has no fragrance if your skin is extra-sensitive or the fragrance triggers or worsens eczema on your skin. It doesn’t have to be expensive; petroleum jelly (Vaseline) can be used.
- Use small amounts of mild soap that has little or no fragrance when having a bath. Don’t use harsh soaps.
- When the weather is cold, stay indoors in a warm place or wear warm clothes before going out.
- To prevent eczema, also avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity.
- Reduce or avoid activities that make you hot and sweaty. Sweating can cause your skin to become itchy and irritated.
- As much as is possible, stay away from very hot places and avoid sweating profusely. This is a difficult one here in Nigeria where the weather is so hot sometimes that even the air conditioners appear not to be effective sometimes. But as much as is within your power, try to adhere to this step.
- Organise your daily schedule and learn to cope with or manage stress. And, as much as you can, reduce the stress you go through. This is because stress worsens eczema in some people.
- Don’t wear clothing with rough fabric (like wool). It is preferable to wear clothing that is made of cotton or any soft material.
- Another step that is important for you to prevent eczema flare-ups or reduce its severity is to know which foods cause eczema to erupt on your skin. Avoid those foods that you react to!
If you have eczema or had it in the past, it is best to practice these steps to prevent eczema. Also, pay close attention to your skin and note anything that triggers eczema and avoid them.
Even if your eczema goes, continue to carry out these steps to prevent eczema. If you stop doing so, the eczema can come back.
Don’t forget to go see the doctor whenever you have any concerns or complaints.