While Eczema is pretty common and many kids eventually grow out of childhood Eczema, we can take steps to ease our reaction to the external environment by working on the factors within our control.
Eczema management is especially important in developing kids, to ensure that the condition does not evolve into more forms of chronic inflammation later on in life.
Recall the common triggers for Eczema in Part 1 of the post.
Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It is also our first line of defense against foreign invaders so a good control measure would be to maintain our skin in a state of neutrality as far as we can.
How do we do that?
Elimination of synthetic chemicals usage
- Notice how perfume is part of our daily routine in a bid to smell good and look good? When we come back form work and pick our babies up excitedly, part of this fragrance gets absorbed by their skin. How about freshening up the bathroom with an air freshener after we are done with our toilet business? The aerosol vapours get inhaled and also come into contact and can irritate the delicate baby skin.
- Commercially scented products often contain unknown synthetic fragrances with petrochemical origins. However, as it can be deemed to be a company’s proprietary, components of “fragrances” are often undeclared in product labels.
- Avoid products that contain synthetic fragrances such as Perfume/ Air Fresheners and areas with 2nd hand cigarette smoke
Instead of masking odors with other potent odors, consider the use of inexpensive and natural components such as baking soda.
Instead of masking our own body odor with petrochemicals, why not try to minimize our body odor by embarking on a healthy diet?
- Laundry– Read here on laundry and eczema
- When selecting laundry detergent:
- For the same reasons on fragrance as above, choose unscented. Considering the low cost of laundry detergent, what is the quality of fragrances the companies can add in to sustain profit?
- Toggle around with the washing detergents available. The lesser ingredients, e.g. enzymes, SLS, optical brighteners, phosphate…the better, as laundry detergent can accumulate on the clothes.
- Avoid clothes that require dry washing. It is basically a chemical washing process. For babies, consider washing their clothes in plain water only (babies are relatively clean when are young), and switch to washing a simpler detergent once they get active.
- Body soap
- Choose unscented and avoid chemicals such as SLS, phosphate etc. Less is better.
- Opt for ones that can moisturize the skin to minimize skin dehydration as it gets exposed to air after bathing
Maintain constant environmental conditions
- Avoid being in a cold and dry environment. Air conditioned rooms can aggravate eczema further by drying out the skin.
- Set the room temperature to a comfortable 25 degC.
- Consider maintaining relative humidity of around 50% by placing water in an air-conditioned room.
- Take warm to cold baths. Hot baths can irritate sensitive skin.
- Avoid exposing sensitive skin to strong sunlight.
- Consider the application of a safe sunblock to minimize UV rays
- Understand that hot sun + perspiration causes sensitive skin to flare up, and take steps to minimize the exposure to these 2 combinations.
- Always keep the skin lubricated and moist, e.g. by using a safe lotion. (As lotions are subjective, always do a spot test to ensure that the lotion does not irritate the skin. Asking for samples to try before buying can often save money and resources as well)
- Keep the skin clean by gently wiping away excessive moisture such as drools/ milk/ perspiration
- Rest amply! Research shows that sleeping 7 hours a night is optimum to health.
- Smile more, keep the stress away, as stress is also a huge trigger factor!
Food to avoid
Ironically, exposing your babies to a variety of food when they are ready to start on solids can help to reduce their allergic tendencies later in life. It is also a good opportunity to take note of the food triggers they might have.
For people with eczema, consider a diet with an emphasis on whole plant food. Limit animal food to no more than 3 ounces a day. It reduces the oxidation stress on the body and the body can better allocate its resources to recovery. Find out more about the food to eat in Part 3.
Let me know your experiences.
Cheers to a larger life!