10 Science-Backed Ways to Help Prevent Eczema Flare-Ups
Eczema is bad. The good news? You can prevent those unwanted and burdensome flare-ups by monitoring your diet, water intake, clothing fabric choices, and the products you put on your skin. Here’s how.
Itch, scratch. Itch, scraatch. Itch, scraaatch. Ugh.
If you are one of the 30 million Americans that suffer from eczema, then this insane itch and scratch cycle is all too familiar. What exactly is eczema and why do you have it?
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes your skin to flare-up with raw, itchy and inflamed patches. These itches can be so bothersome, preventing you from falling asleep or waking you up in the middle of the night during your well-deserved and much-needed beauty sleep. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Unfortunately, the cause of eczema is unknown and there is no cure. The best thing that a dermatologist can offer you is a prescription for steroids, which comes with a whole different set of side effects, like thinning of your skin, discoloration, and hormone disruptions. Meh.
Here are 10 science-backed things you can do to help simmer down eczema flare-ups, without the prescription.
Apply Omega-3 Fats to Your Skin Daily
Omega-3 fats are essential to your life and extremely effective anti-inflammatory compounds. Studies show adding omega-3s into your daily routine can help curb those unwanted flare-ups and keep your skin hydrated and cells nourished.
These compounds work molecular magic by locking in water and strengthening your barrier by increasing the amount of keratin in your outer layer, or epidermis. A stronger barrier means your skin is more resistant to tears and open wounds that happen from constant inflammation and scratching.
Finding skin products that have omega-3 fats is quite challenging since these blubbery goodies are sensitive to light, heat, and oxygen. Look for products that are packaged in amber bottles and with ingredients that contain unrefined hemp oil, avocado oil, or flax oil. To get the best results we suggest applying these fatty products to your skin twice daily.
Omega-3s should really be your first line of defense when fighting back against eczema.
We recommend GLAUX CHEM®'s custom hemp products since they are rich in omega-3 fats.
Check Your Laundry Detergent
If you have eczema, then chances are you have allergies and your skin is sensitive to the type of laundry detergent you use to wash your clothes.
Most grocery store shelves are filled with strong soaps full of fake fragrances, ingredients, and colors—soap is not naturally blue or red. The chemicals in harsh synthetic detergents like hydrogen peroxide can trigger allergic reactions, eczema flare-ups, and itchiness.
You can easily switch to a skin-friendly laundry detergent by shopping at your local health food market. Look for products that are clear, unscented, and specify a gentle or skin sensitive formula. Double bonus points if the product is earth-friendly, too.
We recommend trying out Seventh Generation Free & Clear Natural Laundry Detergent.
Stop Using Products with EDTA
EDTA is short for the manmade compound called ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid. This nasty is commonly found in soaps, shampoos, and cleansers to enhance the foaming action.
For sure, you need to avoid washing and soaking in the tub with products that have EDTA. The longer the time your skin contacts the EDTA the more metals your skin will lose.
The reason EDTA is bad for your skin is this compound is a chelator and LOVES to bind metals. Using products with EDTA can pull essential metals like zinc, copper, and selenium from your skin.
Zinc, for example, is important for the production of new skin cells, proper wound healing and fighting inflammation associated with the healing process, benefiting your skin in more ways than one. Boo, EDTA.
We recommend using the fragrance-free Dead Sea Mineral Salt Soap for all your bodily washing needs.
You already know that excessive amounts of sun exposure and UV rays are bad news bears for your skin, especially if you have eczema. Why do you ask?
UV rays can react with many things like oxygen, your skin, and DNA to produce free radicals or unpaired electrons. When antioxidant defenses in your body are low and cannot fight these radicals, your body becomes oxidatively stressed and can damage your tissue by causing important enzymes in your body to stop working.
If you have eczema, oxidative stress will only make those itchy, red, and inflamed patches more annoying and painful than before. You can also expect the stress to dry out your skin by throwing off your natural levels of fat production and storage. Good thing you can prevent this whole stinkin' mess by just applying a skin-friendly sunblock daily.
We love the All Good Sport Sunscreen brands; their products are free of the nasties, lightweight, and use zinc oxide as the active sunblock ingredient.
Get A Water Filter in Your Shower
If you struggle with taming eczema and you don’t have a water softener and carbon filter in your shower then you should consider getting one, ASAP! Hard water is chock-full of ions like chlorine that can induce flare-ups by changing the pH of your skin, destroying your natural protective oils, and killing off the good bacteria in your skin.
Chlorine is not the only skin culprit found in unfiltered tap water. Often times harsh synthetic chemicals called chloramines (nitrogen-based compounds) are added to tap water to kill germs that may cause infection, making the water “safe” to drink. Chloramines are just as destructive as chlorine; these compounds will also jack up the pH levels in your skin. Chemists (woo!) invented water purifiers for a reason, so getcha one pronto.
We recommend the 3-stage Premium Shower Filter made by Pelican Water because the filters specifically remove chlorine, chloramines, and other minerals.
Eat Fewer Omega-6 Fats
Alas, we return to the fats. If you have read our other blogs then you’ve learned that Western diets are too high in the essential omega-6 and deficient in omega-3. To put things in perspective, the average American diet contains a 20-to-1 ratio of the 6-to-3 fats versus the nutritionally recommended ratio of 3-to-1.
Why is having an excess of omega-6 fats bad for you if they are essential to life? One word, inflammation. Study after study shows that omega-6 fats like linoleic acid kick your immune system into overdrive and bring on inflammation. If you have eczema, an added cause of inflammation is the last thing your body and skin needs.
To offset your omega-6 intake and show your eczema who is boss, start eating more hemp foods and applying topical hemp oils and creams.
Stop Wearing Fake Perfumes
They say pain is beauty but we argue against that point if your perfume is causing your skin to flare-up. Synthetic perfumes are just as they sound—full of nasty ingredients like alcohols that exacerbate dryness and inflammation by pulling water from your skin and triggering that raw, itchy skin nightmare.
Another bad thing about fake fragrances is that they are just straight bad for your body and the planet. The chemical making of these nasties always leads to the production of large amounts of unsafe waste. Subbing essential oils for fake perfumes is a healthier earth-friendly alternative, assuming you don’t have a sensitivity to fragrances.
We recommend the pure therapeutic grade essential oils from Bulk Apothecary.
Activate Your Endocannabinoid System
You might know that your endocannabinoid system helps keep ALL your body’s other systems in balance. What you might not know is that this system is crucial for the production of your skin natural oils (sebum) and for proper wound healing.
When your skin gets a scrape or cut, your immune system naturally responds by sending out a slew of immune soldiers to the wound site that causes your skin to become swollen and inflamed. Your endocannabinoid system helps prevent the development of scar tissue by keeping your immune system in check.
You can activate your endocannabinoid system in multiple ways like eating hemp products, consuming cannabis, and getting 30 minutes of regular cardio exercise at least 3 times a week.
Check Your Clothing Fabrics
Another way to keep your eczema in check is by being conscious of the type of fabrics that you wear. Natural fabrics like cotton, hemp, and linen are some of the good ones that keep your skin cool and allow it to breathe.
Synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and wool, are baaaaad and can irritate your skin. There is nothing worse than putting a shirt and feeling itchy all day long or having a flare-up occur when you are at work and need to be clothed. Chances are you can’t go to work in your birthday suit.
Prewash Your New Clothes Before Wearing
Unless you hand-make your clothes then you should always pre-wash any new clothes you buy before wearing them to remove potential irritants such as dyes, fabric softeners, and toxic preservatives like formaldehyde, which can provoke a flare-up.
If your eczema is super sensitive to fabrics in general then washing your clothes with an all-natural fabric softener can do wonders.
One cycle of washing on warm or hot water should do the trick.
The information provided in this blog is intended to help you learn how to prevent and tame your flare-ups. Learn to be mindful of the things that go into your body and touch your skin. Keeping a journal about your diet, skin regimen, and exercise routine when your flare-ups happen are good ways to help you gain control over this chronic skin condition.
Take your life back and show your eczema who is boss!
Learn more about skincare tips from GLAUX CHEM® on our website.