Who here has suffered or currently suffers from eczema? Raise your hands. No wait, don’t—anyone who has had eczema on their hands and arms knows how painful it can be to move and expose them. Don’t laugh, if you’re laughing you’ve never experienced the pain of dry, cracking skin on your body that can debilitate you in ways you’ve never even imagined. Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the human body? It’s also your foremost defense against external pathogens, ambassador to the sense of touch, and aesthetically one of the first things you notice about somebody, whether you realize it or not. When you look at a person’s face, their arms, their hands, their feet, wherever, you’re looking at their skin. And eczema all over that skin is not a pretty sight, nor a comfortable feeling. Eczema causes the skin to itch like mad and dry out, causing painful cracks and bleeding. Living with severe eczema is truly challenging, and you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. Well, maybe you would.
Part of the challenge is treating eczema, which is very difficult to do when you want to maintain good hygiene. As part of treating eczema, people are often advised to avoid hot water and soap. That’s kind of hard when you’d like to keep yourself clean. Unfortunately, the best you can do is to minimize the exposure to water and soap as much as possible. Try to wash lightly and don’t leave your skin soaking. Right after washing, always apply lotion to keep your skin moisturized. If you’re having problems with itching, you can try anti-itch spray, which basically makes it burn so bad that you forget about the itchiness. You can get special ointments and creams for treating eczema at the local drugstore, or your dermatologist if the problem is severe. These help protect the skin and heal it faster. You should apply these as instructed and reapply if you’ve washed the skin.
Treating eczema can be a pain, but don’t treat it lightly. Eczema that goes untreated is even worse, so it’s best to deal with the discomfort in order to minimize the damage. It is true to say that some children who suffer from the condition outgrow it but that is not a given and certainly there appears to be some evidence that even if the eczema clears up, the skin in the childhood sufferer is often vunerable through life so it is best to treat the condition in the young if at all possible. There’s no exact cure for eczema, but there are definitely ways to make it better and interfere with your daily life as little as possible. The problem also tends to overall get better as people age, so that’s a relief. So continue to wash with caution, apply that cream and don’t let eczema get in the way, especially during the summer. Hot weather is primetime for eczema outbreaks, so you should prepare your skin as best as possible for the coming heat.