skin care in patients with eczema
Eczema is a varied group of different non-infectious skin diseases which may be caused by irritation, allergies and other endogenous and exogenous factors. It is the most common category of skin diseases. Eczema may manifest with erythema, papules, vesicles, crusts, weeping and oedema in its acute phase and with thickening of the skin, lichenification, and scaling in its chronic phase. Itching is a guiding symptom.
Eczema requires medical / dermatological treatment. Several topical (ointments, creams, lotions etc. with pharmaceutical ingredients) and systemic (pills, tablets) medications are available.
Mild pH-neutral or acidic cleansers should be used. The use of bath oils free of fragrances and emulsifying agents is recommended in patients with dry skin.
Soaps and bubble baths should be avoided. The water temperature should be moderately warm, not hot, and bathing or showering should not occur more often than once a day. Bathing time should not exceed 15 to 20 minutes. After the cleansing procedure, the skin should not be rubbed dry, but rather gently wiped dry with a soft towel. Immediately after showering or bathing, a moisturiser should be applied.
A mild, possibly fragrance-free shampoo should be chosen. As shampoos may lead to skin irritation and exacerbation of eczema, it is recommended to wash the hair over the sink or bath to avoid exposing eczematous areas of the body to shampoo. Wearing cotton-lined rubber gloves during the hairwash process protects the hands.
Basically, skin care products should be applied according to the skin type.
In dry skin, water in oil-emulsions (mixtures with more oil/ lipids than water) with water-binding ingredients such as urea, glycerin and lactic acid should be applied.
Fragrance-free products with a small number of ingredients minimise the risk of sensitisation (allergy development) to cosmetic products. Emollients may be used several times a day, whenever the skin feels dry or itches, to prevent a relapse of eczema.
A new line of fragrance-free medical skin care products with urea and lactic acid has been developped for dry sensitive skin (Dardia).
In normal to oily skin, light oil in water-emulsions (mixtures with more water than oil/ lipids) are appropriate.