If I have eczema, what can I do to heal my skin and prevent another rash?

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Jeannette O. Graf, MD
Dermatology
Eczema is characterized by dry skin, and there are certain things which are lacking in skin that make it prone to eczema/atopic dermatitis.  It is essential that water exposure be kept to a minimum and the temperature of water must be lukewarm.  Moisturizing body-pH-balanced washes are essential since they leave a remnant of moisture on the skin, and a rich moisturizer containing humectants (ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid) should be applied within three minutes following a shower.  Moisture should be reapplied at bedtime, as well, and if that is not enough, showering should be every other day.  Water wears down the delicately balanced-pH lipid barrier that is responsible for keeping skin moist and protected so that our protective microflora work most effectively.
Atopy and eczema sufferers also are more easily prone to skin infections, since they are less able to produce the skin's natural antimicrobial defensive peptides.  Since vitamin D3 plays a very important regulatory role in their production and preventing skin infections, it is advisable for atopics who are often lacking vitamin D3 to supplement with this important vitamin.
Dr. Doris Day, MD
Dermatology
One of the most important elements in your skin care regimen when you have eczema is proper moisturization of the skin and barrier repair. Look for products that contain ceramides and shea butter. Creams are much better than lotions and the best time to apply is right after the bath or shower when your skin is still damp.
Be sure to limit baths or showers to no more than 10-15 minutes and also make sure to drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and eat a high anti-oxidant diet.
If your eczema flares be sure to see your dermatologist for proper evaluation and treatment planning to help clear it and to keep it under control.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.