The hands and the feet are the areas most commonly affected by eczema. The term eczema is often used interchangeably with dermatitis, which is nothing but an inflammation of the skin. A large number of conditions can result in this inflammation.
Of the different kinds of eczema that affect the skin, contact dermatitis is the most common as it results from the skin coming into contact with something harsh or harmful. There are certain ways in which eczema can be managed and contained so that it does not prevent the affected person from taking part in their everyday activities.
How is eczema managed? Let's take a look at some lifestyle changes that will really help.
Reduce Hand Washing
Every time a person washes their hands, the natural oils that make up a part of the skin are lost. These oils are nourishing to the skin and help in healing the skin when it is suffering from inflammation. Care should also be taken not to use harsh chemicals or soaps for hand washing.
There are plenty of dermatologically tested "cleansers" on the market that are very gentle on the hands and should be preferred.
People who are in professions that require them to handle harsh chemicals, cleaners or other such substances should wear cotton lined gloves so that their skin does not come into contact with these products.
For people who are in the medical profession, wearing latex gloves is almost a second nature. Care should be taken, however, because latex allergy is a common occurrence and can be "delayed" in onset, often manifesting after wearing these gloves for many years.
Latex-free disposable gloves are freely available on the market and are a good option for such people.
None of the above mentioned gloves should be worn for too long though as they can cause the skin to itch and again become inflamed.
Management Of Cracks
Eczema can often become severe enough for the skin to start cracking and bleeding, making it difficult for the person to work or do routine tasks. For such people, soaking their hands in lukewarm water for around 10 minutes followed by pat drying them is recommended.
Once the hands are dry, a liberal amount of petroleum jelly should be applied on the hands and then covered with cotton lined gloves.
Using a moisturizer on your hands throughout the day is an excellent idea for people suffering from eczema. This is most important after taking a shower, though. It is recommended that extremely hot showers be avoided and that shorter showers with lukewarm water be taken.
Also, make sure that the moisturizer being used is free of potential allergens.
Soft cotton socks can be a real lifesaver for people that have eczema on the soles. Other material like wool or polyester can be rougher on the feet and cause a flare-up. The socks should also be changed a couple of times a day in case they become damp and sweaty.
Socks can also be avoided at home in a cool environment where the floor is covered with a soft rug.
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