Scars often tell a story of the brave. Eczema skin patches are more like badges. A badge that depicts consistent emotional, mental and physical strength.
Facial skin reflects the overall health of an individual and is often the most well pampered body part. Yet somehow due to uncontrollable skin conditions like eczema, certain scars, acnes, blisters and redness may appear, causing facial eczema. Its effects can be particularly seen in the facial area. This can happen in both children and adults. Developing hypersensitivity to pollens, microbes, dust particles, food products etc. triggers this skin condition. Other contributing factors like stress, anxiety, genetic makeup can also worsen the condition.
You may have eczema, but eczema doesn’t have you!
How to know if you have facial eczema?
Eczema rashes can appear on any part of the body but when it particularly forms on the face, it can be unpleasant, irritating, and itchy. This is due to the fact that the skin of the face is very delicate. The rash can be dry, red, flaky and holds the potential to often blister.
Eczema on the face can occur alone or in conjunction with eczema on the whole body. This depends on the severity of the reaction between the allergen and your body type.
Let’s us look at some of the common indications of facial eczema-
- Itching that can be rather severe at times
- Burning or needle like stinging sensations
- Flaking and dryness
- Rough or bumpy skin texture
- Leaky blisters
- Cracked skin accompanied by bleeding
Eczema typically manifests itself as patches in certain locations, such as around the cheeks, eyes and nose area. According to the National Eczema Foundation, there are several forms of eczema, including those that affect the face-
Atopic dermatitisThis affects the cheeks and forehead area and is accompanied by asthma and/or hay fever. Common triggers are soaps, detergents and environment stressors.
Contact dermatitisA specific allergen, such as a strong detergent or a smell that your body is allergic to, when comes in contact to your skin is linked to contact dermatitis.
Seborrheic dermatitisSeborrheic dermatitis is caused by an inflammatory reaction to Malassezia yeast, that ordinarily dwells on the skin's surface. The immune system appears to overreact with it, resulting in an inflammatory response and skin abnormalities. Its effects can be seen near the nose and scalp area.
What causes facial eczema?
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is brought on by a concoction of multiple factors including immune system activation, hereditary pass on, environmental stressors and type of food consumed.
It is also largely linked to the lack of ability to repair skin barrier damage and associated mutation in the filaggrin gene, which is of utmost importance when it comes to skin barrier development. Some common reason are-
Genetic make-upNormally, the filaggrin gene is usually present in the form of two copies in every cell of the skin. People that are prone to eczema, on the other hand, only have one copy of this gene causing inflammation and triggering allergic reactions.
Response of immune systemThe immune system is the body's defence mechanism. Your immune system can sometimes overreact to little irritants or allergens, if you suffer from atopic dermatitis.
Surrounding environmentThe immune system is in charge of your skin's protective barrier which gets influenced by your surroundings resulting in excessive loss of moisture. Exposure to tobacco smoking, strong fragrance and air pollution may also worsen the condition
High temperaturesExposure to heat and contact with irritants in the environment can worsen itching and make people more prone to scratch allergic reactions.
Food allergensIt will take a short reaction period of a few minutes to trigger a chain of allergic reactions after consuming the allergic food resulting in redness and swelling around the lip area.
Tips to manage facial eczema
1. Use a gentle face wash
Avoid using abrasive products like scrubs on your face. Hunt for a face wash that is gentle, fragrance free and noncomedogenic, which means it won't clog pores or irritate your skin.
2. Keep your facial skin moisturized
After cleansing, moisturising is an important step in keeping your skin hydrated. When treating eczema prone skin, creams with hydrating components like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, glycerine, as well as barrier-reinforcement compounds like ceramides and madecassoside are recommended. Thick textured creams should be preferred as they have the ability to lock and retain moisture content.
Why are barrier repair creams good for facial eczema?
Barrier creams help the facial skin to perform the most important function on a daily basis i.e. keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.
The barrier creams help to keep the skin's physical barrier intact and prevent it from drying out. By forming a topical barrier on the skin, they prevent trans epidermal water loss and skin breakdown.
These applications can also help to cure existing wounds and skin tears on your face. They act as a perfect barrier against harmful irritants.
Effective ingredients to look out in barrier cream
Madecassoside is a fantastic antioxidant that can help with acne inflammation, mending tiny wounds, scratches, and burns, for eczema sufferers. It's the active ingredient of the plant Centella asiatica, known for its calming and wound-healing properties. Amino acids, beta carotene, fatty acids, and phytochemicals are compounds associated with Madecassoside, all known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Emollients based on petrolatum are the primary line of treatment for facial eczema. Shea butter is a fat derived from the kernels of Butyrospermum parkii tree and known to have amazing properties that fit best in the category of a perfect healer for facial eczema.
- Shea butter serves as a refatting agent by maintaining essential fats in the skin and allowing them to absorb quickly.
- It has an anti-inflammatory action.
- It contains cetyl esters known to seal in moisture and has a soothing effect.
- It is effective on skin barrier.
Ceramides I,III, VI
There are three key ceramides that are beneficial to the skin i.e. the combinations of ceramides 1, 3, and 6. They work together as a team by
- moisturising and strengthening the protective skin barrier damaged by eczema,
- rejuvenating existing ceramides in the skin, and
- reducing wrinkles and by enhancing hydration.
3. Wet towel wraps
Wet wrap therapy can help rehydrate and relax the skin during severe eczema flare-ups accompanied by excessive itch or pain.
To begin using wet wrap therapy, soak the clothing or gauze in warm water until it is somewhat damp. The moist dressing should then be wrapped around the afflicted area. Wrap the dry layer around the damp one gently. Wet wraps should be left on for several hours or overnight to avoid drying out.
This effectively retains the moisture content of the skin and reduces inflammation.
4. Slather up a good sunscreen
If you have eczema, too much sun can provoke symptoms or exacerbate an existing flare-up. Overexposure to the sun can cause inflammation, irritation, and dryness, which can aggravate itchy or sensitive skin. Sweat and heat from the sun can also make eczema more painful than usual. This is where sunscreen comes in!
Physical sunscreen is another name for sunscreens enriched with minerals that suit best for eczema affected skin. It protects your skin by acting as a physical barrier against UV rays. This form of sunscreen does not permeate into your skin, thereby preventing skin clogging. Some of the important labels to look out in a good sunscreen are
- Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) and Zinc Oxide. These are two mineral-based sunscreen components.
- SPF 30 or higher (alcohol-free).
- Broad spectrum protection against all types of radiations.
Use of humidifier aids in the reintroduction of moisture into the air, making the skin less dry and hence less prone to itching and flaking.
5. Visit a dermatologist if discomfort and inflammation increases
Don't be afraid to make a separate appointment for that bothersome acne or facial eczema, so the doctor can focus solely on that issue. It is essential to take corrective steps without any delay and prioritise clinical diagnosis from a known dermatologist.
Understand your skin type with an expert, take proper treatment and follow-up care for eczema before it gets aggravated.
Eczema has no cure, however taking corrective action at the right time is in your hands. Combine your treatment with effective skin care products, simple home remedies and keep up to date about your skin condition.
Remember to feel confident in your own skin. Take care of it like your favourite hobby.