As we age, we expect to see our bodies change in literally every aspect. Our joints get sore, our metabolisms slow, our eyesight weakens , even our hair changes texture. But what on earth are those red spots and flaky patches? You mean our SKIN is changing, too? Yes. It’s not only prone to wrinkles, but Eczema as well. The National Eczema Society encourages us to be educated on the various types of eczema, their causes and effective treatment options:
This type of skin irritation is most common in women and those with high blood pressure and varicose veins or those who have had deep vein thrombosis, cellulitis, or phlebitis. It characteristically thins skin on the lower legs, causing sores that can sometimes weep and cause infection. Varicose Eczema is treated with topical steroids and medicated bandages. This type of skin disorder is caused by reduced mobility, so the best treatment is to increase blood circulation of the affected area. If possible, be sure to walk for 20 minutes twice daily and when sitting, elevate feet to hip height. Compression socks may also be recommended by a physician.
This type of eczema also affects the lower legs but sometimes thighs, arms, torso and back as well. Identified by very dry, rough skin, it is caused by warm temperatures and dry air. In order to allow the skin to heal, ensure that it is getting enough moisture; avoid long, hot baths and sitting close to heat sources. Avoid soaps and harsh detergents, and consider placing a bowl of water in each room to raise the humidity level of your home.
Emollients vs. Moisturizers
Often doctors will recommend using an emollient to treat Eczema. Emollients are different from cosmetic moisturizers in that they do not contain perfumes or other additives that tend to dry the skin and cause further irritation to problem patches. Because Eczema typically causes itching as well as cosmetic changes to the skin, emollients include an anti-itch element as well.
Using an emollient can bring relief and healing, but be sure to test in a small spot for a bit of time. It can take up to three days for an allergic reaction to surface. Also be aware that emollients cause tub and tile surfaces to become very slippery, so it’s imperative to take precautions against slipping.
Emollients come in the form of lotions, creams and gels, even bath and shower gels; with creams and gels providing the longest-lasting relief. Again, it’s essential to try in a small patch to test for allergies before applying all over. Once deciding which emollient to use, it is recommended that the user apply it to the entire body, not just the spots with eczema.
For more thorough information about the various emollient options and what must be considered for each, visit this helpful site provided by the National Eczema Society. With proper use under the care of a physician, the unsightly and uncomfortable condition of eczema can be eradicated quickly.