According to the National Eczema Association, more than 31 million Americans have some form of this common, non-contagious skin condition. Most often seen on the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face, it usually starts with itching followed by a red (sometimes blistery) rash that leaves skin looking dry and scaly. More severe eczema can lead to painful cracks in the skin as well.
Eczema often flares up this time of year due to drier, colder air associated with the transition from summer to fall. In addition to changes in temperature and humidity, other eczema triggers include allergens and irritants like soap, detergents, harsh skincare ingredients, scratchy fabrics and more. Although dermatologists have yet to identify the root cause of eczema, it is believed that both genetics and a compromised skin barrier contribute to this skin condition.
5 tips for keeping eczema in check
- Moisturize after washing your hands, bathing or showering every time. Dr. Boakye developed Karité Crème Mains Hand Cream and Crème Corps Hydrating Body Cream to provide all types of skin with much-needed moisture (while being safe for eczema-prone skin).
- Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes (and children!) or cleaning.
- Apply hand cream at bedtime and wear cotton gloves overnight.
- Apply SPF daily to prevent flare-ups and irritation caused by sun exposure.
- Be sure to manage itching to prevent scratching and breaking the skin. If you’re having a hard time keeping the itch under control, schedule an appointment because we have several medications that can help.
Eczema and stress
In addition to genetics and a compromised skin barrier, research has shown that stress plays a role in eczema
flare-ups as well. Though a rather complex biological process, simply put, stress prompts the brain to send messages to nerves in the skin that are responsible for inflammation and immune response, as well as barrier function—which have all been identified as contributors to eczema. It’s important for everyone to manage stress for the sake of overall health and wellness and taking positive steps may help improve eczema as well. Committing to healthy nutrition, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and, if necessary, considering therapy are all great ways to start!
Are you a “lip-licker”?
Unbeknownst to many, there’s a form of eczema called lip-licker’s dermatitis. In some, saliva can cause red, dry skin to develop around the lips (often leading to inflamed, cracked, painful, or itchy skin—and this is especially common in eczema-prone babies thanks to all that drooling. The key to keeping this delicate skin calm and comfortable is moisture, moisture and more moisture, especially as the weather turns colder.
For soothing hydration anytime and anywhere, look no further than Karité Baume à Lèvres Lip Balm
. Formulated by Dr. Boakye herself, this vegan, hypo-allergenic formula features the highest-quality raw, unrefined shea butter sustainably-sourced from Ghana along with organic jojoba oil, rosehip oil, murumuru butter and a bevy of other antioxidant-rich plant-based botanicals. This lip balm is perfect to wear alone, as a primer for lipstick or under gloss all year around—and it’s great for men, too. Simply having this moisturizing barrier on your lips alone can stop the licking-irritation cycle!