Let’s face it – its not fun to talk about red and inflamed skin but more than likely you and/or those you love have experienced it. Let’s take a deeper look at two of the top skin inflammation conditions – Dermatitis and Eczema.
What is it?
Dermatitis is a term that describes a skin irritation. It comes in many forms but usually involves itchy, dry skin or a rash on swollen, reddened skin. At it’s worst, dermatitis can cause the skin to blister, ooze, crust or flake off. Dermatitis isn’t contagious, but it can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious.
- Contact dermatitis. This red, itchy stinging rash occurs where your skin has come into contact with substances that irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
- Seborrheic dermatitis. This condition causes scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff. It usually affects oily areas of the body, such as the face, upper chest and back. It can be a long-term condition with periods of improvement and then seasonal flare-ups. You may have noticed this in infants – this condition is called cradle cap.
Wear protective clothing if you are doing a task that involves irritants or chemicals. Be sure to minimize exposure to cleaning solutions as they may contain chemicals that cause a negative skin reaction.
Avoid activities that dry your skin when bathing.
- Take shorter baths and showers. Limit your baths and showers to 5 to 10 minutes. Use warm, rather than hot, water. Bath oils may also be helpful.
- Use a gentle, non-soap cleanser as some soaps can dry your skin. Try to select unscented cleansers.
- Dry yourself gently. After bathing, gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel.
- Moisturize your skin. While your skin is still damp, seal in moisture with an oil, cream or lotion. You may need to try a few options before finding the best solution for your skin. Due to skin sensitivity, the best results come from products that are free of harsh chemicals and unscented.
Moisturizing regularly helps control the symptoms. Treatment may also include medicated ointments, creams and shampoos. More details can be found on this Mayo Clinic link.
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What is it?
Eczema is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. Its common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis (Eczema) is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare up periodically. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever. There is no cure. Bottom line, it’s major bummer.
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema). Usually beginning in infancy, this red, itchy rash usually occurs where the skin flexes – the inside of the elbows, behind the knees and in front of the neck. The rash may leak fluid when scratched and crust over. People with atopic dermatitis may experience improvement and then seasonal flare-ups.
- Follicular eczema. The affected skin thickens and develops bumps in hair follicles. This condition is common in African Americans and in people with dark-brown skin.
The following tips may help prevent bouts of dermatitis (flares) and minimize the drying effects of bathing:
- Moisturize your skin at least twice a day. Creams, ointments and lotions seal in moisture. Choose a product or products that work well for you. Using petroleum jelly on your baby’s skin may help prevent development of atopic dermatitis.
- Try to identify and avoid triggers that stimulate the condition. Typical triggers include sweat, stress, obesity, soaps, detergents, dust and pollen. Infants and children may experience flares from eating certain foods, including eggs, milk, soy and wheat. Talk with your doctor about identifying potential food allergies.
- Take shorter baths or showers. Limit your baths and showers to 10 to 15 minutes. And use warm, rather than hot, water.
- Take a bleach bath. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends considering a bleach bath to help prevent flares. A diluted-bleach bath decreases bacteria on the skin and related infections. Add 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) of household bleach, not concentrated bleach, to a 40-gallon (151-liter) bathtub filled with warm water. Measures are for a U.S.-standard-sized tub filled to the overflow drainage holes.
Soak from the neck down or just the affected areas of skin for about 10 minutes. Do not submerge the head. Take a bleach bath no more than twice a week.
- Seek mild and gentle soaps. Do not use deodorant soaps and antibacterial soaps as they can remove more natural oils and dry your skin.
- After bathing gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel and apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp. More details on the best over the counter creams from Very Well Health.
Eczema can be persistent and frustrating. You may think you have it under control and signs and symptoms can return (flare). It’s important to recognize the condition early so that you can start treatment. If regular moisturizing and other self-care steps don’t help, you should see your doctor. She/He may recommend one of the following options.
- Creams that control itching and help repair the skin.
- Antibiotic Drugs to fight infection.
- Oral drugs that control inflammation.
- Newer options like injectables for severe eczema.
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