How to prevent eczema
There is no cure for eczema, and there are no well-established ways for a person to protect herself from developing the condition in the first place. But there's good news: when it comes to preventing eczema from flaring, there are several well-established safeguards, and all they require are some relatively simple lifestyle changes.
Take short, lukewarm showers and baths
Long, hot showers or baths irritate and draw water from the skin, and so promote flare-ups. Gently patting the skin dry after bathing (as opposed to wiping it harshly) can also help.
Moisturise after bathing
As skin dries, moisture is naturally wicked away. To prevent over-drying, always moisturise after bathing, swimming, or getting skin wet.
Use soaps designed for sensitive skin
Fragrance-free soaps made for people with sensitive skin can help prevent dry skin and eczema flares.
Wear gloves and avoid irritants
Wearing gloves to do dishes or chores can keep the skin away from contact with harsh chemicals, soaps, or other irritants that can trigger a symptom outbreak. Washing clothing in detergents designed for people with sensitive skin is also a good idea.
Drink plenty of water
Staying well-hydrated can help prevent dry skin. Aim for eight glasses a day.
Wash new clothes before wearing
New duds often come coated with chemicals that can irritate the skin. Wash them before wearing. Loose cotton clothing is also less likely to irritate skin than tight, synthetic garments.
Stress is a known eczema trigger. Meditation, yoga, and exercise are all proven stress-fighters. Counseling can also help individuals develop effective stress-reduction techniques.
Dermatologist Dr Aaron Drucker and dermatologist Dr Adam Friedman contributed to this report.