10 Tips for Living With Eczema

From the WebMD Archives


6. Wear comfortable clothes that don't irritate skin.

Cotton and cotton blends are usually the best choices for people with eczema. Wools and synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, can irritate the skin. Washing new clothing before you wear it can also reduce irritation. Choose a liquid laundry detergent that is mild and unscented. And skip the fabric softener.

7. Watch your stress level to avoid eczema flare-ups.

You’re more likely to have a flare-up when you’re under stress. And yet, the itching and discomfort of eczema can add to stress by making you feel angry and frustrated. To break the cycle of stress, try learning stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, biofeedback, or meditation. Getting exercise can also help reduce stress.

8. Follow skin care basics in the shower or bath.

Hot showers or baths are a common cause of eczema flare-ups. "Switch to room-temperature water and save the hot water for a treat once in a while," says Cambio. Avoid scrubbing your skin, and use a gentle cleanser instead of soap on the areas that need it. When you’re done, pat dry and apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp.

9. Protect your hands.

Your hands are often exposed to water and other substances that can irritate them. Protect them by wearing rubber gloves whenever you wash dishes or place your hands in water. Wearing light cotton gloves under the plastic gloves can help absorb sweat and cause less irritation. Cotton gloves can also protect your hands when you’re doing other types of housework. When outside in cold weather, choose leather or cotton gloves to protect your hands from the cold air. Wool gloves may cause irritation.

10. Use eczema medication when needed.

If lifestyle changes alone don’t help your eczema, talk with your doctor about using medication to help ease your eczema symptoms. Your doctor may suggest an over-the-counter cream or oral antihistamine, or suggest a prescription medication. If your doctor has already prescribed a medication, use it as directed.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on November 26, 2012



American Academy of Dermatology: EczemaNet: "Preventing Flare-Ups."

Andrea Cambio, MD, FAAD, medical director of Cambio Dermatology, Cape Coral, Fla.

FamilyDoctor.org: "Eczema: Tips on How to Care for Your Skin."

Lawrence Eichenfield, MD, chief of Pediatric Dermatology at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego; professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Atopic Dermatitis."

Donald V. Belsito, MD, professor of clinical dermatology at Columbia University.

National Eczema Association: "Hand Eczema."

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