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Breaking Down Eczema: The Top Info to Know

eczema on face

Dealing with any kind of skin condition—be it psoriasis, rosacea, or acne—can be tricky, frustrating, and just straight-up confusing. Oftentimes, there's a mix of causes and factors that can exacerbate the issue, which can make treating and caring for your skin feel overwhelming, if not impossible altogether. Dealing with a skin condition like eczema is no different, especially if it's your face (so easily exposed to potentially provoking products and the environmental instigators) versus other parts of the body.

That said, if you're dealing with eczema, you're far from alone. According to the National Eczema Association, more than 31.6 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of eczema, and even celebrities like Kerry Washington have opened up about their struggle with eczema on their bodies and faces. But that's where it's important to strike a differentiation—caring for eczema on the body and addressing it on the face are two different matters entirely and will typically require working with a dermatologist to help treat and resolve the condition.

Of course, any skin condition—eczema included—is far more complex than just keeping the skin clean and hydrated, so we compiled some of the best answers to all of our burning questions regarding face eczema. 

But First, What is Eczema?

Eczema is an umbrella term for a group of skin conditions that can cause the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. The word eczema is often used when talking about atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema. It's important to know that people with atopic dermatitis have an impaired skin barrier, meaning their skin doesn't hold water in like it's supposed to, which is what causes the condition's signature flakes and dryness.

While eczema can have a genetic component, there's a variety of things that cause or worsen it, such as our environment and the way in which our immune system responds. While diet and certain foods don't directly cause eczema, food allergies can often make atopic dermatitis worse—another reason to visit a professional if you know or think you might be suffering from eczema.

Eczema on the Face vs the Body…

Even though there’s a consensus that the general signs and symptoms of eczema will be the same regardless of where it appears on your body—face included—there are some key differences that are important to be aware of.

Eczema on the face can be more difficult to manage since the skin is more sensitive and we tend to apply more products that might trigger a flare-up. This, for example, would require a different treatment strategy than a type of eczema on the hands called pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema which presents itself as deep-seated blisters.

You can also get nummular eczema, which looks like a coin-shaped rash on the body. Plus, since many people with eczema scratch and rub the areas affected, it's not uncommon for the skin to appear thickened and/or sometimes darker in some areas of the body and face than others.

How Should Eczema on the Face be Treated?

First things first, if a trigger for your eczema can be identified, it should be eliminated. Not sure where to start? Common triggers from foods (think typical allergens like eggs, dairy, or nuts), fabrics (wool or man-made fibers), or skin irritants (perfume, makeup, or skin care products) should be considered and changed if needed.

Unfortunately, some triggers are hard to treat because they are tied to your genetics or where you live. For instance, northern latitudes are a trigger. Secondly, the itching symptoms of eczema should be treated to avoid worsening the inflammation. Non-aggressive steroids such as hydrocortisone 1% cream is a good place to start in order to calm irritation, and depending on your results, you can seek further treatment options with your doctor. Of course, choosing gentle, non-inflammatory skin care is key if you're looking to reduce the chances of a flare-up! 

What to Avoid…

Essentially, anything that's harsh, irritating, or over-exfoliating is considered a foe when caring for eczema. Specifically avoiding sulfates, alcohol, and fragrances in addition to at-home peels or pads and alcohol-based toners is a good start. Avoiding inflammatory food like sugar and dairy might also be strategic in minimizing the chance for flare-ups on the face.

Again, your skin care routine is essential. Be careful with over-exfoliation, as that can lead to dryness, which can trigger eczema. Allergens in the environment can even cause an eczema flare as well as stress and hormones. Eczema may also worsen with certain eye makeup and makeup-removing products, therefore avoid makeup wipes since most of them contain fragrance and alcohol and instead use a gentle makeup remover or micellar water to remove makeup. Try avoiding hot water when washing your face and instead use cool water, as it's less drying and less irritating.

Ingredient-wise, look for soothing ingredients when choosing your skin care picks (don't worry, more on that below!) and we suggest calming, natural choices like manuka honey, turmeric, aloe, and coconut oil as non-irritating alternatives.

What are the Best Products?

The ideal evening skin care routine for someone with eczema flare-ups on their face would start with gentle cleansing, followed by a low-inflammation nighttime moisturizer, which, can even be as simple as pure coconut oil or this eczema and psoriasis cream. Don’t forget to be consistent and make sure to use anti-inflammatory and nourishing ingredients over steroid creams or mineral oil-based lotions!

For the best eczema products, visit the Wild Naturals online store today!