Hypoallergenic bamboo works very well to protect against eczema flare-ups and provide support during treatment and recovery.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a dry skin disease that is also known as dermatitis. It affects people differently in that the disease is different from one individual to another, and it can also come in many different forms. Eczema mostly affects children, but it can also affect adults. It is also possible that those who outgrow Eczema during childhood could still be affected by a recurrence of the skin disease later in life.
In the UK, statistics show that one in five children and one in a dozen adults have the skin disease. Moreover, most skin diseases that have been caused by hazards at work result to eczema and contact dermatitis.
Well-hydrated, healthy skin is the body’s protective armor against infection. The fats and oils produced by the skin help maintain moisture, regulate body temperature and avert damaging substances or bacteria from entering our bodies.
A person who has eczema has skin that cannot make as much fats and oils as other people, and thus will not be able to retain moisture as well either. With this, the protective function of the skin is compromised because gaps appear in the skin where it is not plumped up with water. The deeper layers of the skin then lose moisture, which lets in harmful bacteria and/or irritants into the body.
Skin with eczema is susceptible to dehydration and is easily damaged, and because of this, there is a tendency for the skin to swell and become red when it gets in touch with materials or substances that irritate or cause an allergic reaction.
In order to be able to manage the various types of eczema, the person afflicted with the disease has to maintain the softness and suppleness of the skin through the constant and liberal use of emollients. Emollients prevent cracks from developing, preserving the moisture and flexibility of the skin, and making the skin more comfortable as it is protected against irritation. Persons with eczema need to incorporate cleansing products with emollients in their daily skin care routine in order to deal with and minimise dry and itchy skin.
Soap contains ingredients that can dry the skin. It is therefore not recommended for people with eczema. The hands are usually most vulnerable because they are washed more often. Other products which persons with eczema should avoid using are liquid soaps/cleansers and products that contain perfumes because they are liable to irritate the skin.
Soap substitutes containing emollients clean the skin just as effectively as ordinary soap does, even if they do not form suds. The recommended way of applying soap substitutes is before bathing, showering or washing, or while in the water – such as while soaking in the tub or swimming.
There are many available variants of emollient bath oils and shower gels to choose from. There are those which can be used all over the body or on a sponge before rinsing off in the shower.
When skin allergies flare up and the skin becomes red, sore, and very itchy, the usual first aid treatment for it is topical steroids. These ointments bring the swelling, redness, and itchiness under control. As topical steroids are used for short-term treatments, they should be used along with emollients. However, for more severe eczema attacks, the prescription commonly known as ‘weekend therapy’ applies. This requires an application of topical steroids for two consecutive days each week on the areas of the skin where the eczema usually flares up. In the long run, this therapy can more effectively deal with an almost continuous flare cycle than the application of topical steroids only as needed.
As to whether applying the steroid preparation after or before using emollient, there is no standard practice. However, whichever way is chosen, it is vital to remember to leave at least a 30-minute interval in between treatments.
It is best to avoid and prevent infection because it makes eczema worse, and treating one is more difficult than prevention.
What causes infection in eczema?
Factors that can cause infection in eczema are bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
The most common bacterium found on the skin that is associated with eczema is called Staphylococcus aureus, found on weepy and broken skin. Those affected with atopic eczema have this type of bacterium present even when there is no infection found in their skin. Staph infections are very dangerous because it worsens eczema, prevents healing, and multiplies as the eczema becomes more severe.
Even for people without eczema fungal infections are common. People with eczema, however, are more helpless against these infections.
Yeast infections like Candida or ‘thrush’ can also develop, especially in skin folds which are warm and moist.
Another form of infection is tinea or ‘ringworm’ that can affect any part of the body, often as isolated patches or found in between the toes – also known as ‘athlete’s foot’.
Eczema herpeticum is caused by the cold sore virus known as herpes simplex. A person with eczema who has a low resistance to the virus is susceptible to this severe infection. People with eczema are advised to avoid anyone who has a cold sore.
Hypoallergenic Bamboo Support
Hypoallergenic bamboo can be helpful for people with eczema. It acts as a protective barrier for the skin by protecting it from bacteria and fungi that can worsen the condition. Bacteria thrive on certain types of fabrics, as well as in the air. Using hypoallergenic bamboo pillowcases, curtains, bedding, sleep masks, cupboard dehumidifiers, and clothes instead of other materials can reduce bacterial contact with sensitive and infected skin to help prevent flare-ups and aid in skin recovery.