Tag Archives: eczema

Tips for Controlling Common Skin Conditions

Dr. William’s Pink Pills For Pale People,” “Dr.Scott’s Electric Corsets and Belts, “Dr. Ayer’s Pectoral Plaster,” “Dr. Watson’s Worm Syrup.” It seems like, since time immemorial, there have been people ready to cash in on the belief that “for every problem, there is a solution.” However, attractive as it the phrase may sound, unfortunately it is not always true, and skin conditions are no exception. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make to make them better. Here is some expert advice on how you can handle some common skin conditions under control.

Under-eye bags

Under-Eye Bags
Under-eye bags are the result of fat that gathers in the lower eyelids, and become more prominent with age. According to Curology founder, David Lortscher, gravity, loss of collagen, and genetic factors are all responsible for the these pillow like protrusions, and the bad news is, they cannot be permanently eliminated and masks and eye creams usually don’t help. However, there are ways of minimizing the puffiness.

According to Lortsher, “proper head elevation during sleep, sleep itself, and decreased dietary ingestion of salt and alcohol are simple lifestyle changes that can help.” He adds, “Topical creams can also reduce swelling.” If more intense treatments are an option, the doctor allows that, “Surgical correction or blepharoplasty can lead to a semi-permanent solution. But, remember, with age and volume loss the under-eye bags can reappear.”

Melasma is characterized by dark facial pigmentation. It is triggered by sun exposure, hormone treatments and pregnancy and may last for decades. While melasma research is still ongoing, topical treatments, such as the prescription medication Tri-Luma, are looming on the horizon and experts recommend sun avoidance and protection to keep the condition to a minimum.

Dermatologist checking skin

Stretch marks
Stretch marks appear when the tissue below your skin, called the dermis, tears after being stretched by rapid growth or weight gain. Lortscher explains that, “Stretch marks are difficult to treat because they are actually scars,” and, like most scars, may fade with time, but never fully disappear. But there is hope.

Lortscher says cosmetic fractionated layers offer the “best hope at improving the depressed and thinned texture of the skin and topical tretinoin may help to some extent through its collagen stimulating effect.”

Rosacea is the general term used to refer to the appearance of redness of the face, small, acne like bumps and dilated blood vessels. Rosacea affects the capillaries under the skin surface and, “As you might imagine,” Lortscher says, “there is no topical treatment that will remove these little blood vessels.”

Although rosacea is not completely curable, there are several ways to manage it. One way is to avoid triggers such as sun exposure, spicy foods, stress, and hot showers. Redness can also be decreased by using topical products containing metronidazole, tacrolimus, azelaic acid, and glycol acid.

Woman scratching her arm

A catch all phrase applied to most skin inflammation, eczema can be caused by almost anything from stress to food allergies. Although not curable, eczema is easily controllable with topical antibiotics, emollients and steroids.

Keratosis Pilaris
About 50% of the population suffers from the genetic acne- like skin condition known as keratosis pillars. KP is usually found on the thighs and upper arms and consists of dry, rough bumps resulting from the accumulation of dead skin cells, and, as Lortscher says, is,”incurable and persistent, even with treatment.”

Thankfully, alpha hydroxy acids are helpful in sloughing off dead skin cells and allowing them to shed, so glycolic and lactic acids can be effective, as can coconut oil, although coconut oil should not be used on the face. More good news: the condition also tends to go away when the sufferer reaches his or her late 20’s or early 30’s.

How Dropping Temps Effect Eczema

Woman with skin issues

Late comedienne Gilda Radner was once quoted as saying, “I base my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch.” What may appear as a beautiful wool sweater to some, may take on a very different connotation when seem through the eyes of an eczema sufferer. With the cooler weather approaching, the potential for eczema flare-ups increases, and the wearing of warmer clothes in greater amounts is only part of the problem. Change in humidity, temperature, dry air, and central heating are other eczema symptoms can cause this season to turn into a eczema sufferer’s nightmare.

Margaret Cox, CEO of the National Eczema Society says, ” Eczema is individual and we all have different triggers and a change of temperature up and down is very common. Most of us find summer rather than winter worse, but there are others who are completely the opposite.”

What is Eczema?
Eczema is a condition affecting the barrier of the skin and causing abnormalities in the skin’s usual allergy and inflammatory responses. Itchiness is the main symptom, along with dry, itchy, red skin that tends to ooze or become crusty, thick and scaly. Because the skin of eczema patients produces fewer oils and fats, it can’t provide effective protection from irritants and bacteria, which makes everyday substances like detergents and soaps potential triggers for breakouts.


Stay Cool
Dr. Cox says, “With eczema, the skin barrier isn’t working as it should. As well as protecting from allergens and irritations, the skin barrier is an important part of controlling the body temperature. People with eczema suffer from being too hot and when you get too hot, you itch and you scratch.” The best advice? Comfy clothes made of gentle fabric like cotton.

Keep Temperatures Constant
When the cooler weather comes, we face constant temperature change as we move from warm houses to the cold outdoors. “As the temperature drops, so does the humidity and, obviously for those of us with eczema, our skin is already lacking in natural moisturizing factors, so you’ve got a double whammy there.” Cox advises avoiding the “double whammy” by wearing layers that can be removed or added to keep your temperature level.

Woman holding moisturizer

Dr. Cox advises reevaluating your moisturizing routine. She says, “Consider how you’re using your medical moisturizers and emollients. It may be that during the winter months if your skin is drying more you need to use something heavy duty or moisturize more frequently. The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) suggest washing with moisturizer instead of soap and avoiding bubble baths, detergents and shower gels. The association recommends moisturizing three times daily applying a non-perfumed greasy moisturizer. To prevent contamination, you should not place your finger back in the jar of moisturizer after smoothing it on. Rather, remove the amount you will need with a spoon and set it aside.

Avoid Germs
The British Association of Dermatologists also warns that illness, viral, and bacterial infections are common eczema symptoms as well. Try to avoid coming into contact with germs or people who are infected.

Central air systems can dry out the air in your home. Humidifiers can help compensate by bringing lost moisture back in the air. Keep the humidity level in your home to between 45 and 55 % to prevent skin from drying out. Clean the humidifier regularly to stop the grower of mold. Humidity above 55% may cause dust mites to grow.

If you are suffering from eczema, we hope this helps. Let us know how you handle your eczema when the temperature drops.

Avoiding Eczema Flare Ups


In the book, “We Need To Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver, one of the many diabolical acts Kevin, the narrator’s evil son, undertakes is encouraging a young girl, Violetta, to viciously gouge her eczema inflicted skin after years of strict abstinence. In the book, Shriver gives one of the most vivid and haunting descriptions of the condition, writing that it, “itches like fury.” She describes little Violetta clutching her anti- itch ointment, although, “those antipruritics are only so effective anther self-control was impressive. She’d trace a fingernail tantalizingly over her arm and they grasp the offending hand with the other as if putting it on a leash.”

Shriver may or may not have ever known the experience of eczema, but, she surely puts it into perspective for those of us who haven’t. Eczema is a condition causing red, swollen and itchy patches of skin. There are many things in the environment that can trigger eczema and recognize and avoid them are key in keeping flare ups to a minimum.

The Cold
Cold weather is no friend to eczema sufferers. Low temperatures cause the skin to become dry and prone to breakouts. Be sure to have moisturizing ointments handy in the winter and use a humidifier to combat dry air indoors. Try to keep humidity levels between 45 and 55 percent.

Synthetics, wool, and rough materials have been known to trigger eczema. Loose- fitting cotton is preferable. Always wash clothes before wearing them to get rid of excess dye and irritants and cut out tags.

Try to use a pH neutral, fragrance-free detergent and use the double rinse cycle to make sure you get all of the soap out of your clothes. Look for natural household cleansers and wear rubber gloves when cleaning.

woman smiling in cold weather

Dust Mites
Dust mites can trigger eczema flare-ups, particularly in small children. Made sure you get rid of dust magnets in your child’s room, like carpeting, rugs, and blinds. Wash sheets and curtains in hot water once a week and keep the room clean.

While it can never be totally avoided, excess stress may be eliminated with yoga and deep breathing. Relaxation will help to send your eczema plan in the right direction.

Food Allergies
For those who suffer from atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, food allergies can trigger to the appearance of symptoms. Food allergies can be diagnosed with skin pricks and blood tests, however, the only way to know if your food is really the trigger is to have the doctor witness what happens after you eat the food, not a very enticing prospect. You must take the food challenge to know for sure.

If you are a makeup maven who has eczema, finding the right products can be a challenge. Try to avoid products with alcohol, lanolin, preservatives and perfume. Keep in mind the “unscented” label does not necessarily mean there is no fragrance; the fragrance may just be masked. “Fragrance-free” is a better guarantee, choose products with this on the label instead. Also, always test out a new cosmetic on a small patch of skin before deciding whether or not it is for you.

Unfortunately, Skippy and Fluffy may have to sleep outside for a while and they better keep off the furniture. Vacuuming can help keep down pet dander, a leading eczema trigger, as can regular grooming and bathing of pets.