This eczema guide looks at the causes and soothing solutions for this common skin condition.
We look at what eczema is, what the most common causes of eczema are and the ways in which changes to your diet and lifestyle can help to control eczema in both adults and children. We also advise on choosing natural skin care for eczema sufferers.
What is eczema (dermatitis)?
Eczema comes from Greek and means ‘to boil over’ and is also known as chronic dermatitis.
Eczema is a condition that affects people of all ages, but is especially prevalent in babies and young children.
Whilst the visible symptoms of eczema show on the skin, it is generally accepted that it is closely linked to the internal health of the body.
Whilst creams and salves will offer some relief, they are not the complete answer to managing this condition.
Atopic eczema (dermatitis)
Atopic eczema, the most common form of eczema, affects 1 in every 5 children, and often runs in families.
It is estimated that almost 80% of atopic eczema cases start before the age of 5 and one third of babies and children with atopic eczema will develop asthma and/or hay fever.
Symptoms of atopic eczema include dry, almost unbearably itchy, red and inflamed skin. Areas of the skin may be cracked and scratching can cause open wounds that are prone to infection.
If eczema becomes inflamed the skin may develop blisters and weep - a condition known as 'wet' eczema.
An abnormality in the gene associated with a healthy skin barrier as well as abnormalities in the normal inflammatory and allergy responses has been closely linked to the development of eczema.
This defect in the skin barrier makes the skin more vulnerable and harsh ingredients can further irritate and penetrate the skin.
Several factors can cause atopic eczema to flare-up these include; skin-irritants in household and personal care products, pets, wool, heat, stress, food intolerances and dust mites, which thrive in warm, moist environments such as bedding, mattresses, curtains and carpets.
To prevent dust mites, air bedding well, avoid carpets in the bedroom, use a powerful vacuum cleaner and dust with damp micro-fibre cloths.
Natural ingredients for eczema-prone skin
Green People was founded in 1997 by Charlotte Vøhtz, a mum looking to relieve her daughter’s eczema symptoms. Many years on, we offer a wide range of more than 140 gentle, eczema-friendly products.
We formulate soothing, natural skin care products that are suitable for skin that may be prone to eczema and skin allergies.
Made with pure, organic plant extracts and no harsh, drying or irritating chemicals, they are much gentler on sensitive skin than ordinary high street brands.
Real-life results with our Soothing Baby Salve
Eczema skin care tips
- Avoid harsh soaps, shower gels, shampoos and bath products, especially those containing sodium lauryl sulphate and petroleum-based ingredients such as mineral oil, petrolatum and paraffin wax, which prevent the skin from breathing. Products containing alcohol (ethanol/ethyl alcohol) dry the skin and can make it sting and itch. Green People do not use any of these ingredients.
- Use products fortified with Jojoba esters, essential fatty acids and plant-based emollients such as Squalane to help restore moisture and sebum balance. Moisturise your skin several times a day and use moisturising lotions or salves to cleanse affected areas
- Avoid products containing harsh preservatives and synthetic fragrances. Even essential oils can be a problem for some eczema sufferers.
- To reduce the itching, choose cotton clothing and bedding to keep the skin cool and allow it to breathe. Avoid synthetic fabrics and wool, which can irritate.
- Use a gentle washing powder and avoid fabric softeners.
- At night, cotton mittens help reduce the damage that children can cause to their skin by scratching in their sleep.
- Stress can make eczema worse, so try to manage stress and practice relaxation techniques
Dietary advice for eczema sufferers
Many cases of eczema seem to be linked to food intolerances, and may flare up after eating certain classes of foods.
This is especially true in the case of baby eczema, which is most often linked to intolerance to dairy foods.
By avoiding cow’s milk, and foods made from milk such as butter, cream and cheese, symptoms of eczema often improve.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, you should avoid all cow’s milk products as any intolerance can be passed to the infant through your milk.
The same problems can also occur with citrus fruits and tomatoes, which should also be excluded if symptoms persist.
Intolerances to other classes of food are possible, and where these are suspected, expert advice should be sought to determine whether these exist.
Our customer care team is happy to help you identify which of our natural eczema-prone skin care products might be suitable for your skin. Please call us on 01403 740350 or talk to us on social @GreenPeopleUK.