The symptoms of eczema can be divided into dryness of the skin and itching. The importance of managing itching is well documented, as itching leads to scratching, which worsens eczema, and leads to further itching.
Itching is, for most patients, not a problem on a daily basis, but become a serious problem when eczema flares up. Topical steroids are often called on to manage itching aggressively at an early stage to minimize damage to the skin.
Dryness is more of a persistent problem in those with a tendency for eczema, and requires daily and ongoing care to be managed effectively.
To bathe or not to bathe
Whether to bathe or not has been a source of controversy for some time. There has been some confusion, even among experts over how often patients with eczema should bathe, and under what conditions.
Bathing is beneficial and necessary for good health and hygiene, but water, and especially hot water can drain the skin of moisture rapidly. It's important to follow proper bathing protocols to protect your skin if you have eczema.
Bathing is important, and an essential part of general hygiene as well as protecting the skin from microbes to which patients with eczema are especially susceptible to.
Bathing provides an opportunity for moisturizing the skin immediately afterwards, where absorption if high.
Bathing reduces stress, and is often considered to be therapeutic.
Avoid high temperatures, as they dry out the skin quickly and are also more likely to trigger itching. This is very important as high temperatures damage the skin's structure, dry out the skin rapidly, and also trigger itching as blood flow increases. Always use lukewarm water. This advice also applies to those without eczema as well, but is essential for those with eczema as their skin is far more vulnerable to the effects of drying.
Limit bathing time to 10 minutes at most in order to prevent skin from drying.
Moisturize your skin immediately after bathing. Pat your skin dry, and do not rub vigorously with a towel as this will dry out your skin.
Bathing is important and should not be discouraged, but it is important to take the proper precautions to protect your skin.