This post contains links that are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information, check out my disclosure policy.
I have chronic eczema, otherwise known as atopic dermatitis. The severity of my eczema changes and avoiding foods high in nickel is one of the best ways to treat / reduce my eczema flare ups. In addition, I proactively care for my skin by moisturizing daily, clipping my nails weekly and trying to reduce stress.
I attended a one day adult forum by the National Eczema Association. Over the years, I’ve found many of their educational resources useful. Since treatment for eczema is very trial and error, I’ve also used their Facebook page to ask questions about what they do or products they use from their fans. Once I was looking for a lip moisturizer without shea butter and someone recommended Aquaphor Healing Ointment. I use it daily on my lips and finger and it works great!
One of the original founders of the National Eczema Association, Susan Tofte, RN, FNP, presented information during the eczema forum about techniques for basic skin care, specifically for us with atopic dermatitis. She mentioned that bathing dries out the skin. However, I learned that bathing helps the skin IF a moisturizer is applied to your skin within 3 minutes of gently patting yourself dry with a towel. Nurse Susan Tofte also mentioned that when your skin becomes wet (about 20 minutes) during your bath or shower, your skin has absorbed the maximum amount of moisture from the water.
Nurse Susan Tofte suggested when you’re experiencing a severe eczema flare up it’s important to “baby” your skin care for at least one week to help get things back under control. During that week, she suggested bathing in lukewarm water for 20 minutes and moisturizing your skin with a moisturizer (not a lotion, as they can contain alcohol and dry out your skin) within 3 minutes of gently pat drying your skin. She suggested bathing 2 times a day throughout that week, both in the morning and at night. If your eczema is really bad, she recommended taking a bath instead of a shower (if you can). The goal of bathing often is to help your body’s skin rid itself from outside irritants and/or allergens and reducing your skin’s inflammation and reducing the itch-scratch cycle.
I use Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleansing Bar (affiliate link) for my bathing soap. Previously, I used Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Special Shampoo. Now I use Cleure, a fragrance free and SLS free shampoo and conditioner that was recommended by my dermatologist. Cleure contains 3 different ingredients that are all derived from coconut. Despite the coconut, I thought I would give it a try and it’s been great for nearly a year. It’s one of the only shampoos that has totally resolved my scalp from itching and consequently my dandruff.
After my daily shower, I use Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Cream (affiliate link) on my skin and Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment (affiliate link) on my lips and sometimes on my elbows or fingers if they’re really dry. I also keep a small bottle of Cetaphil’s lotion and Aquaphor’s “on the go” packs in my purse when I need to moisturize my hands and lips throughout the day.
I’ve used other lotions, moisturizers and lip balms that haven’t worked as well as these. Many other targeted eczema products include shea butter or oats. I cannot use anything with shea butter or oats because those ingredients include nickel and irritate my skin. If you’re purchasing the Aquaphor healing ointments, I purchase the travel “on the go” packs (affiliate link). Aquaphor offers a “lip balm” that I cannot use because it include shea butter, so read the ingredients. Lastly, if you’re allergic to lanolin, it’s best to avoid aquaphor products. In that instance, Vaseline could be a good alternative.
If you have chronic eczema or a nickel allergy I highly suggest you try Skintifique’s nickel free products (referral affiliate link). Using Skintifique’s Cleanser P and Moisturizing Lotion HP daily has relieved the intensity of my eczema on my face, even when I’ve occasionally eaten foods higher in nickel. In addition I believe using Skintifique’s cleanser has diminished my acne. I also enjoy using Skintifique’s Hydrating Gel Plus HS from time to time where my skin is especially dry or itchy. If you want try Skintifique, use referral code 22140304 to receive $15.00 off their products when you register and shop.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic disease and it’s important to recognize that flare ups will occur. Appropriately caring for your skin when you’re experiencing an eczema flare up is critical to getting your eczema under control. For me that not only involves avoiding eating foods high in nickel, but also not putting too much pressure on myself and frequently using moisturizer!
What are some techniques you use to care for your skin? Share your tips in the comment section below.