What Is Eczema and How to Treat It?
Eczema is a skin disease characterized by dry skin and red patches accompanied by intense itching. Eczema-prone skin generally has a weakened skin barrier, which makes it difficult to defend against external aggressions.
Although there is no cure for eczema, there are many treatments and skincare available to relieve its symptoms. Find out here what eczema is and how to treat it.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin. Its main characteristics are skin dryness, red patches and intense itching that leads to persistent scratching. Red, irritated, scaly patches on the skin can sometimes even become infected.
In most cases, there are periods when the disease gets worse, called flare-ups. Flare-ups are followed by periods when the skin improves or clears entirely, called remissions.
The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, also called atopic eczema. Atopic dermatitis is linked to atopy, that is to say to a genetic predisposition to the development of common allergies. Other types of eczema include contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, and more.
What Causes Atopis Dermatitis?
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. However, research has shown that genes, the immune system and the environment play a role in the development and maintenance of the disease.
Several genetic risk factors have been identified and are the subject of ongoing research. One of these genetic mutations affects a particular skin protein, namely fillagrin (1). This protein plays a key role in the skin barrier.
Thus, the function of the skin barrier is weakened by this genetic anomaly. In addition, the pH of the skin of people with atopic dermatitis is significantly higher than that of healthy skin. This further reduces the effectiveness of the skin barrier (2).
Skin affected by eczema is therefore hyperreactive to environmental stimuli such as allergens and irritants. Examples of irritants include laundry soap, fabric softeners, fragrances, and more. In response to increased exposure to external aggressions, the immune system triggers an inflammation loop in the skin (3).
How to Take Care of Your Eczema?
Strategies to control eczema include treatments with active ingredients. For example, certain medications such as corticosteroids address the inflammation of the lesions. These treatments can be combined with moisturizers to improve skin barrier function. Other measures may include avoiding exposure to irritants, known allergens, and other environmental factors.
As skin dryness is one of the central characteristics of eczema, skin hydration can be an integral part of treatment for all severities of eczema (4).
Moisturizing creams have the function of reducing skin dryness, retaining the natural moisture of the skin, improving comfort and reducing itching. Moisturizing agents aim to improve the function of the skin barrier by bringing lipids and water to the skin.
Eczema on the Face
Eczema on the face can appear especially on the eyelids, cheeks, forehead and even the scalp.
To cleanse your face, use a non-irritating, lipid-rich cleanser. For example, a cleansing milk is ideal for removing impurities from the face while nourishing the skin. You can continue the cleaning step with the application of thermal water rich in minerals with soothing properties.
Discover our Nutri-B5 Milk Cleanser
For your moisturizer, choose a treatment rich in humectants, occlusives and emollients. Humectants (glycerin, hyaluronic acid, urea) attract and retain moisture in your skin. Occlusives and emollients (plant ceramides, shea butter, mineral oil) prevent water evaporation and help repair the skin barrier.
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You can also add active ingredients to your skincare routine to relieve your eczema. For example, niacinamide is an ingredient with soothing and anti-inflammatory properties (5) which reduces the inflammation of atopic dermatitis lesions.
Discover our Niacinamide-based Serum
Omy Laboratories' customized serum is a customizable serum containing 5% niacinamide. Interestingly, niacinamide delays the release of histamine, the molecule responsible for eczema itching (6)! Thus, niacinamide helps reduce the itching associated with eczema.
In addition to benefiting from the soothing benefits of niacinamide, you can add to your customized serum your selection of three active ingredients targeting your different skin concerns.
There are also many natural extracts that can soothe eczema. For example, Tasmanian berry extract has soothing properties, thus calming the itching. Similarly, date-seed dormin extract is soothing and reduces redness. You can find these two extracts respectively under the ingredients In and Ro in the personalized skincare products from Omy Laboratories.
Eczema on the Body
If you suffer from atopic dermatitis on the body, it is essential to select your body care carefully to avoid exacerbating your eczema.
For the cleansing step, opt for a cleanser formulated with physiological pH so as not to unbalance even more the pH of your skin. Also, choose a cleanser rich in oils and waxes to strengthen your skin barrier. For example, a body cera-cleanser is ideal for cleaning eczema-prone skin. Inspired by Galen's cerate, this cleanser combines several oils, waxes and ceramides to gently cleanse your skin.
In terms of moisturizing body cream, as for face cream, look for a product rich in humectants and occlusives. For example, Omy's dermo-protective body cream contains 5% urea, a powerful humectant that helps restore moisture to your skin. Its high emollient content also provides protection against external aggressions.
As hands are often affected by eczema, make sure to have a good hand cream. Omy's Delicate hand cream was conceived during the pandemic for healthcare workers. Thus this cream was specifically created to hydrate hands with a weakened skin barrier.
It should be noted that the action of skincare on eczema is limited. Cosmetics can reduce the recurrence of flare-ups and alleviate symptoms. However, their effects on eczema remain more limited than those of drugs. So, for any questions related to eczema and its treatment, please refer to your doctor.