Eczema effects nearly 10% of the population—yes 30+ million people deal with dry, cracked, bleeding skin. I remember in medical school a dermatologist told me: there is normal healthy skin, there is dry healthy skin, there is DRY skin, and then there is medically dry skin—that is Eczema.
Dry skin, even if it is not eczema, can be a nightmare. Burning, stinging, cracking, bleeding. If you have ever experienced this (if you haven’t, then thank your lucky stars), you have tried lotions, creams, oils—oh my! If you have dry skin, your hands HATE you right now. Hand washing is on the rise with COVID-19, soaps, sanitizers--um, that makes it sounds like we didn’t do it often before—well if the shoe fits, hmmm??
There are actually numerous types of eczema.. There are also other medical conditions linked to eczema. Many kids with eczema also suffer from asthma and allergies. Most people will outgrow the asthma, though the allergies and eczema seem to stick around. There also may be a genetic component to eczema—thanks mom. Though in the end, the treatment at this time is still pretty much the same—hydration, hydration, hydration.
I encounter questions about dry skin quite often. Here are some simple DOs and DON’Ts I share with my patients for eczema/dry skin:
Do take warm baths, DON’T take hot or cold baths
DO pat or air dry wet skin, DON’T rub you skin with your towel
DO limit your time spent in water, DON’T watch the new Mulan on Disney+ while bathing.
Use moisturizing lotion on your skin as often as you think of it. Try to avoid fragrances as this can really irritate the skin. I suggest finding baby lotion—it usually is some of the mildest, fragrance free, soothing lotion.
[Side note; I personally use Arbonne —all natural products that have done wonders for my skin and my kids. In fact, it is the only stuff I have ever used on my 2 year old—he didn’t have a diaper rash until he started daycare!]
Vaseline, though a sticky mess is GREAT for your skin. I recommend Vaseline wraps, basically when you get out of the shower, don’t dry all the way. Then spread a layer of Vaseline over the area that is of concern, then cover (gloves, socks, shirt, etc). This will help to seal the moisture into the skin and hopefully help re-hydrate the areas.
Though, sometimes, you just need more help. Call you doctor if you cannot seem to get that skin better. Dry, cracked skin can lead to infection—so make sure you get help when you need it.
…until next time, #IrishDoc07