Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eczema and 7 Things You Can Do To Prevent or Help a Flair Up

Lets start by clarifying not all eczema is created equal.  Not even close.  Most of the remedies I suggest are targeted to mild to moderate flair ups.  No matter the type though, eczema stinks.  There are natural and effective ways, however, to treat and relieve eczema. It took me years to figure out something that worked to help with my son’s eczema.  I have put together a cheat sheet I hope will help you and save you some of the time and frustration we dealt with.
 What is Eczema and What Causes It?
Eczema is a chronic skin condition in which the skin becomes itchy, reddened, cracked and dry. It can be caused by an allergy or external irritant however, often the cause is unknown.

Where Should I Start? 
There is no easy answer to this.  There are different things to consider.  Is the patients eczema sever or mild.  If it is mild using quality skin products might be all that is needed.  However, if it is a moderate to sever case it is really important to try and determine the cause.  You can see an allergist for testing and/or try an elimination diet at home to see if it is food allergy or sensitivity.
I am a big believer that we have more food sensitivities than we often think.  Eating foods that irritates our body causes inflammation within the body.  That inflammation can take a toll in many ways, one being eczema. The best products in the world will not help if you keep fueling the cause of the inflammation.
Here is a great article on elimination diets and what to do. Detox diets are another great option and I will write more on that later. 
7 Things to Avoid to Prevent or Help a Flair Up?

  1. Avoid prolonged periods in hot water
  2. Avoid, rubbing the skin after a shower/bath.  Instead pat dry
  3. Avoid harsh soaps and solvents.  Particularly ones with Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, Propylene glycol, and fragrance. (*Note it is hard to find cleaners free of these.  Sweet Cheeks makes a bath gel that is suitable but castile also works well)
  4. Avoid products containing mineral oil (*Note: mineral oil is used ubiquitously in the US.  Read the labels.)
  5. Avoid any products containing fragrance oil, even laundry detergent.
  6. Avoid tight clothes and synthetic fabrics,. Wear clothes that breath.
  7. Avoid know allergens if possible. If you have seasonal allergies try a Neti Pot

What About Home Remedies?
I would love nothing more than for you to purchase lots of our products!  However, I also know that there is no cure all for something like eczema.  Nothing thrills us more than the letters and e-mails we receive from customers telling us how well our product has worked and how thankful they are for it!
That said, I also understand wanting to test some basic remedies first.  The very first thing I would recommend is stop putting anything on your body that contains mineral oil.  It is a double whammy for eczema.  It blocks moisture from entering  the skin (which is what you want to happen with eczema) all the while that oily layer that sits on top, leaches moisture out of your skin.  There really is nothing worse for it.  From there I would try to get as gentle a soap as possible.  We even went to a 2 part baking soda to 1 part water mixture for a month.  Those two steps, for us…were world changers.  Give it about two weeks.  I would also recommend a quality moisturizer.  Yes, we make them, and there are many reasons I can tell you why ours are so good for eczema.  However,  in a pinch you can use olive oil or even better unrefined coconut oil to start with.  
What Sweet Cheeks products work best for Eczema?
First, our bath gel is great.  It is a castile base that has coconut oil and shea added to help counter the stripping effects soap has to skin.  However, if you don’t use our products please find a cleaner that does not contain the ingredients listed above in the “What Should I Avoid” section.
Second the body butter or solid moisturizer. I would recommend unscented, especially if you are having a bad flair up.  You can also do a combination of the solid after you shower and then keep a small tin of the butter to spot treat.
In another article I will be profiling some eczema treatment products so stay tuned. 
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