8 Tips for Dealing With Adult Eczema
- Eczema Management in AdultsEczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic, or long-term, skin condition causing red, itchy, and dry skin. While the condition is more common in children, it can affect people of any age. Eczema management often includes medications to help control itching, infection, and inflammation. But even with treatment, some eczema symptoms can still interfere with your life. Learning some practical tips for eczema management can help you feel better and allow your skin to heal.
- 1. Treat pain quickly.While eczema in adults can cause many symptoms, pain is one of the more bothersome issues people face. Your skin may become raw, swollen, and sensitive from frequent scratching, but you don’t have to live with the pain. Your doctor can recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever, or you may try at-home treatments for pain, such as warm baths with baking soda. If you’re still in pain, ask your doctor about other options that may help.
- 2. Keep skin healthy.To keep skin strong and prevent eczema flare-ups, do everything you can to protect it. Moisturize at least once daily with fragrance-free lotion that’s formulated for sensitive skin. Keep skin from drying out after bathing by sticking to quick showers or baths and don’t let the water get too hot. Pat skin dry rather than rubbing it, and slather on lotion immediately after. When it comes to makeup and other personal care products, do your research to make sure you’re using simple products that don’t contain irritants your skin may react to.
- 3. Pay attention to your breathing.Studies indicate that almost half of all people with eczema eventually develop allergic asthma, a condition characterized by coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and shortness of breath. If you have eczema, it’s especially important to tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. The earlier asthma treatment starts, the easier it may be to control. Also, it can be very helpful to identify your asthma triggers so you can avoid them and the breathing problems they cause.
- 4. Keep some tissues handy.Unfortunately, many people living with eczema also develop allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. You may have hay fever if you experience symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, or a sore throat. If you have hay fever with eczema, you may benefit from non-prescription medications, but be sure to ask your doctor if they’re safe for you first. Your doctor may also suggest taking steps to limit exposure to common allergens like grass and animal dander.
- 5. Watch your diet.As many as one-third of people living with eczema also have food allergies, and it’s important to watch your diet to help prevent potentially serious allergic reactions to certain foods. Food allergies usually cause symptoms like swelling of the lips, an itchy mouth, hives, painful stomach cramps, or vomiting. If you notice these symptoms after eating certain foods, like peanuts or soy, let your doctor know. He or she may recommend allergy testing to determine your exact food allergy.
- 6. Invest in good sheets.If you have eczema, you may have trouble sleeping because your skin itches so much. Itching is often triggered by exposure to allergens, like pet dander. If you have pets, it can be helpful to purchase allergy-blocking pillows, sheets, and mattress covers to make a barrier between your skin and allergens like pet fur. Wearing appropriate sleepwear and lowering the temperature of your bedroom can also help you catch some z’s.
- 7. Get your vision checked.Regular vision checks are important if you live with eczema, since your risk may be higher for developing certain eye diseases. Some studies show that people with eczema are more likely to develop pink eye (conjunctivitis), inflamed corneas (keratitis), or changes to the shape of the eye itself (keratoconus). Any vision changes, such as blurry vision, sensitivity to light, or watery eyes, should be evaluated by a doctor quickly so you can avoid more serious eye problems.
- 8. Check in with a therapist.Living with eczema long-term can take a serious toll on your mental health. Studies show that as many as 30% of people with eczema also experience problems like depression or anxiety. If you have symptoms like difficulty concentrating, feeling sad, empty, or hopeless, loss of interest in hobbies, problems sleeping, or decreased energy, you may want to explore therapy options with your doctor. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can feel better.