5 Common Eczema Management Mistakes—Why Moisturising Alone isn’t Enough!
2 mins read
With recurring symptoms that range from bothersome to severe, eczema isn’t a condition to be ignored; rather, one that must be understood in order to properly manage.
Much like being in tip-top shape, maintaining good skin is all about constant care, awareness of what’s healthy vs. harmful, environment, and balance. It’s also important to have the right mindset and plan in place. Read on for some pitfalls to avoid in putting that plan together and following through on it.
But first, is it eczema?
Many skin conditions have shared symptoms with eczema—often psoriasis, but it could also be an infection/infestation or other disorders and diseases.1
Eczema itself has various types; though the two main categories2 are endogenous and exogenous—commonly atopic eczema and contact dermatitis respectively—based on whether the cause is internal or external.
Across all types, the onset (acute stage) would make skin red, itchy, inflamed, and “weeping”; while it would later on (chronic stage) become dry, scaly, and rough.2 This can affect skin on any part of the body, including the ears!2
As a long-term skin condition with recurring episodes or ‘flares’, eczema can be difficult to deal with both in the physical and emotional aspects, as it may impede on one’s daily activities and overall quality of life. The triggers of these flares (e.g. allergens) are also often unknown unless tested for, so it’s vital to stay aware of the need for management and care throughout the eczema cycle.
Common Eczema Management Mistakes
1. Forgetting eczema until it flares up
Think of eczema-prone skin as a plant that must be watered and cared for year-round—not only when it looks thirsty; or worse, sick. It is definitely worth the effort to try and prevent eczema flares with a daily skin care regimen rather than having to constantly deal with the itch and pain when it happens.
So keep in mind that no flare-ups doesn’t mean it’s time to be complacent. An ingredient, chemical, or material that’s new to the skin could be an eczema trigger, along with environmental factors like seasonal change and even stress3.
2. Being unaware of triggers skin is exposed to
Eczema causes involve genetics and the immune system.3 Eczema triggers1 can range from wool to the weather, dust to detergents, sweat to smoke! Being aware of which ones cause a reaction prevents chalking up eczema flares to just one trigger and getting really frustrated when avoiding it doesn’t help. Remember that stress can be a trigger too, so this could further aggravate the eczema flare. Try to ensure that you are in an environment that is stress-free, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
And like stress, many other triggers could be unknown or not easily identified, so having a good daily regimen in place is a must in caring for eczema-prone skin and managing the recurrent skin condition.
3. Thinking all moisturisers are the same
Hydrating the skin through water intake and applying topical moisturisers is vital; but like a water balloon with holes in it, some of that effort might be going to waste if skin restoration isn’t part of the equation.
A lesser known but significant eczema cause: defects in the skin barrier.3 This leads to both moisture loss and decreased protection from eczema triggers like irritants. It could also aggravate flares with skin infections from viruses and bacteria.4
To help repair the skin barrier, work on the seal. Holding skin cells together in this protective layer are lipids; dominantly, ceramide.
The right kind of ceramide at an optimal 3:1:1 ratio of ceramide: cholesterol: free fatty acids for skin barrier repair, is what’s found in dermatologist-recommended Ceradan® skin care products.
“Ceramides with lipids and cholesterol in the right ratio have been proven to be important in holding skin cells together to build a strong protective barrier against eczema flares. Maintaining this barrier is a critical part of defence,” shares Dr. Joyce Lim, Senior Consultant Dermatologist at Joyce Lim Skin & Laser Clinic and Past Division Head of Dermatologic and Laser Surgery at National Skin Centre.
4. My skin feels better, I can save on cream!
The state of skin may not be a direct manifestation of its health. Many assume that skin barrier restoration is only for broken skin or that it’s okay to “step down” and opt for cheaper moisturisers when skin is calm.
The lapse in judgement here is failing to understand that the skin barrier is not visible to the naked eye. It requires active repairing instead of impulse corrective methods. It all boils down to consistent moisturisation and repair to preserve the skin barriers in the long-run. Having sufficient knowledge on the correct type of moisturiser would certainly go a long way too!
5. If my itch stops, it must be working!
“Managing eczema is beyond mere symptom relief. A damaged skin barrier predisposes skin to the entry of harmful bacteria and irritants, leading to consequences like itch and inflammation. Whilst itch and redness are troubling symptoms, skin barrier repair and protection is fundamental to eczema management. A resilient skin barrier can help to reduce reliance on steroids,” explains Dr. Mark Tang, Senior Consultant Dermatologist at The Skin Specialists & Laser Clinic and Past Head of Eczema and Wound Clinics at National Skin Centre.
So avoid scratching. Applying an ice pack is a quick temporary fix. Ceradan® Soothing Gel is also clinically proven to provide relief from itch in 5 minutes and leaves a cooling sensation.
And remember that beyond remedies, it’s addressing the root cause of the eczema cycle—skin barrier health—which helps by breaking the itch-scratch cycle.
For long-term eczema management, go beyond moisturisation to skin restoration with Ceradan® and build good habits around skin health.
Results may vary.
- Siegfried, Elaine C, and Adelaide A Hebert. “Diagnosis of Atopic Dermatitis: Mimics, Overlaps, and Complications.” Journal of clinical medicine vol. 4,5 884-917. 6 May. 2015, doi:10.3390/jcm4050884
- “Eczema: Symptoms, Treatments And Causes.” Dermatological Society of Singapore. https://www.dermatology.org.sg/education/eczema-symptoms-treatments-and-causes/. Accessed 11 July 2021.
- Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. “Eczema.” HealthHub. July 2016. https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/medications/43/Eczema
- Ong, Peck Y, and Donald Y M Leung. “Bacterial and Viral Infections in Atopic Dermatitis: a Comprehensive Review.” Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology vol. 51,3 (2016): 329-337. Doi:10.1007/s12016-016-8548-5