Now that winter is upon us, you might be having problems with eczema and dry skin. Winter is a difficult time of year for those suffering from dry skin, especially children. Here are some tips for you and your family:
- Use a daily moisturizer several times a day. There are many good brands. The most important thing is to find one that you like and stick with it. Avoid moisturizers with lots of fragrance and additives. There is usually no greater value in using an expensive moisturizer over one you can find at the pharmacy. If the moisturizer is too irritating then just use petroleum jelly. You can apply after a bath or shower, while still wet, in order to facilitate application.
- Avoid harsh soaps and sanitizers. Use gentle skin cleansers. You can find moisturizing hand soaps at the grocery store. Use a hand cream throughout the day in order to avoid cracked, dry knuckles.
- Use a topical steroid under the care of your physician to treat any red, itchy areas. Certain topical steroids are appropriate for the face while others are best for the body. Make sure that you are not applying too strong of a steroid to the face. Topical steroids should not be used more than two weeks in a row without taking a break. This helps avoid over absorption and thinning of the skin.
- Oral antihistamines can be helpful if itching is a problem at night or if the eczema is associated with environmental allergies. Foods rarely cause eczema but a food diary can help you target certain foods that might make the skin flare.
- Phototherapy in the dermatology clinic can be very helpful during the winter months. Phototherapy is anti-inflammatory and can help significantly with itching.
- If your eczema is flaring, then consider bacterial infection or allergic contact dermatitis. A dermatologist can be very helpful in managing your eczema.
Dr. Browning and Dr. Becker are the only fellowship-trained pediatric dermatologists in South Texas. They enjoy caring for adults and children in their practice, Texas Dermatology and Laser Specialists, 210-829-5180, www.TexasDLS.com.