Eczema is not fun. It’s one of those skin concerns that doesn’t only look raw and dry, it also can feel terrible. Which is why we spoke to dermatologist Dr. Shannon Humphrey of Carruthers and Humphery Cosmetic Dermatology in Vancouver. She lets us know what exactly eczema is, and what your main focus should be when treating it.
What Is Eczema?
“Eczema is an umbrella term for a wide variety of very specific types of rashes, says Dr. Humphrey. “At the foundation of all of them is skin that is very sensitive and has a disrupted skin barrier.” Basically, for those that have eczema, your skin barrier is broken or weakened. And since your skin barrier is responsible for both keeping water in and bacteria and toxins out, when it’s disrupted you tend to be very dry (thanks to hydration loss) and inflamed (thanks to bacteria). This results in itchy and red patches and spots that are flaky and rough.
Why Is It Worse In The Winter?
Since winter air tends to lack moisture it gets pulled from the skin—and that includes everyone, not just those that suffer from eczema. But, if you’re skin barrier is weakened, it’s more likely to become inflamed. “That’s when skin is at its most sensitive to assault by irritants and allergens,” says Dr. Humphrey.
How Can You Treat It?
First things first—steer clear of any potential allergens in your skin care. That means don’t apply anything with added fragrance or anything that could be irritating including acids and potent skin-care ingredients. “Keeping skin care to a minimum and as gentle as possible is key,” says Dr. Humphrey. “And focus on barrier restoration.” Anyone who has eczema will benefit from moisturizing with something simple after every bath and shower. And remember to keep those baths and showers warm or lukewarm instead of piping hot—hot water will dry your skin out even more.
Here are a few products to help treat eczema prone skin!
Province Apothecary Eczema Balm
This newly reformulated balm is a cult favourite of fans of this Toronto-based brand. It’s also the first product that Province Apothecary founder Julie Clark created to treat her own eczema. The balm includes colloridal oatmeal (which helps with itchiness and inflammation), zinc oxide (which also has anti-imflammatory properties) and plenty of oils to help restore that barrier.
Skinfix Soothing Lotion
This lotion is much lighter than a balm (though Skinfix also has a great eczema balm). The lighter texture makes this an ideal option for those looking to avoid anything oily, and its blend of oils (coconut, jojoba and apricot kernel) make sure to soothe and hydrate.
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Body Lotion
La Roche-Posay is a trusted brand when it comes to sensitive skin concerns, so it makes sense that its also a go-to for eczema sufferers. This body lotion’s main goal is to restore the lipid barrier, which it does with shea butter and thermal spring water.
Pai Comfrey & Calendula Calming Body Cream
This cream by Pai Skincare that is anti-inflammatory (thanks to calendula), healing (thanks to comfrey) and oils to help repair your skin’s barrier this option suits anyone who suffers form dry or eczema prone skin.