We get you!
The flare-ups of hand eczema are beyond irritating, and the urge to scratch it- irresistible! Whether it's hand eczema for toddlers, hand eczema for healthcare workers, or hand eczema in winter, the condition causes redness, blisters, itchiness, cracks, and dryness to the point of flaking and peeling. And that's not all.
You also must know that when the condition worsens, it causes the fingers to swell and the hands to hurt. Without proper treatment, hand eczema can become uncontrollable and chronic.
But hey! We have a few different ways that you can definitely try to tame the discomfort that comes with hand eczema. Read along for more insights.
1. Identify the raw food items that flare up eczema and be sure to avoid them
The relationship between eczema and food allergies is unclear. If you have any known food allergies, it's best to avoid the specific foods that prompt reaction. These foods may worsen and trigger your skin condition. Examples of common sources of food allergies include gluten, peanuts, dairy, eggs, alcohol, and sugar.
Pay close attention to what you eat, and if eczema flares up after eating a particular food, you may want to avoid it. The same goes when treating hand eczema for toddlers.
2. Wear vinyl or hypoallergenic gloves while doing house chores like washing dishes, clothes
Protecting your hands while doing house chores like washing dishes, cleaning surfaces, or laundry is necessary to prevent eczema flare-ups. Exposure to bleaches and detergents can worsen it.
Note- Don't let your hands overstay in waterproof gloves. Doing so makes the skin sweat, leading to an inflamed eczema eruption.
Hand eczema in healthcare workers can be prevented by regularly wearing gloves to protect hands from irritants in the workplace, like nickel and preservative chemicals.
3. Moisturise often
With skin conditions like hand eczema, moisturising is the key. Keeping your skin hydrated with the ingredients like Colloidal Oatmeal and GLA (Borage Oil) in the form of a moisturiser help to repair damaged skin barrier.
GLA (Borage oil) is an extract derived from the seeds of the Borago officinalis plant and prized for its high content (20-23%) of the gamma linoleic acid (GLA) . This fatty acid helps reduce hand eczema-related inflammation. On the other hand, Colloidal Oatmeal is also a super emollient with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that softens and soothes the skin
4. Use lukewarm water instead of hot water for washing hands
When washing your hands, only use lukewarm water. Hot water dries out the skin by ripping off its natural oils, a protective coat to your skin. Contrary to popular belief, experts point out that hot water doesn't necessarily kill germs, and you don't need it for that purpose.
A study published in the Journal of Food Protection in 2017 established that water temperature has no part to play in washing effectiveness.
Another tip for washing your hands is to wash them only when they're dirty, like after visiting the bathroom. Each time you expose the hands to water, you rinse off some nourishing oils. You can also opt to go waterless by using a hand sanitiser instead of water, wherever necessary.
5. Avoid using harsh soaps, detergents, and disinfectant products
When you have hand eczema, you want to be careful about the cleaners, detergents, and disinfectant products you use. Otherwise, you could worsen the condition.
It's also advisable to buy products containing the word hypoallergenic on the label. Additionally, skip the fabric softener and dryer sheets. They contain many chemicals that could potentially flare up the condition.
6. Opt for mild and fragrance free cleansers
Generally, it would help to avoid anything fragrant when you have eczema. It includes detergents, lotions, and soaps. Even if the scents are natural or organic, they can trigger eczema. That's why you should look for fragrance-free products , remembering that some unscented products contain fragrances to mask the smell of chemicals.
7. Dry your hands gently after washing. Excessive rubbing can cause more damage to atopic skin
When drying your hands after washing, be extra careful not to cause more stress to the skin.
Excessive rubbing can cause more damage to atopic skin. Tap your hands to dry on a soft towel instead of applying pressure when drying them.
Be particularly cautious when drying between the fingers, where the skin is more prone to cracking and dryness. Also, check that no soap residue remains between the fingers, worsening the condition.
8. Avoid perfumed moisturisers
When you have hand eczema, you need to be mindful of the products you use on your skin. The products, including moisturisers, should be safe and healthy. They should also be fragrance-free and not contain acids or botanical ingredients. Other ingredients to avoid in moisturisers and skincare products include:
Natural fragrances are likely to cause allergies and worsen eczema
Retinoids are medicines related to vitamin A, but they can irritate and trigger eczema flares.
In atopic dermatitis, lanolin causes damage to the skin's acid mantle, and it's best to avoid it when you have eczema.
While it treats certain skin conditions, it may irritate the skin in the case of eczema
Alcohol is an ingredient in gels, but it can sting, burn out, and dry out the skin when you have eczema.
9. Stress and eczema are interconnected. Inculcate the habit of guided imagery and meditation before sleep
Stress and eczema are interconnected. Stress is known to boost the production of stress hormones in the body that can suppress the immune system, leading to an inflammatory response in the skin.
If you're under a lot of emotional or physical distress, you're at a higher risk of dyshidrotic eczema. This type causes itchy blisters on the palms and may contain fluid.
Exercise is an excellent way to manage stress. It fosters the production of feel-good chemicals, improves sleep, and decreases stress levels. In addition to exercise, inculcate the habit of guided imagery and meditation before going to sleep to combat stress.
10. Don't forget to moisturise your hands after using a sanitiser
Hand sanitisers contain alcohol that dries out your hands and can make eczema worse. Applying a moisturiser will reduce the irritation to your dry and chapped skin.
After applying a moisturiser, you can use hand eczema creams to improve the condition.
The one thing to live by when you’re dealing with extreme dry skin conditions like eczema, is patience and adherence to a proper care routine. Try to relieve yourselves of the stress and practice happy thoughts whenever possible.
However, if you use these tips, but your hand eczema doesn't seem to improve, it may be time to seek help from a dermatologist. Some people need a prescription cream or ointment to heal the condition completely.