Are you one of the 32 million people who has eczema? My two-year-old Rex is. He has it on his arms. If you’re wondering what this skin condition is, dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Beer explains it like this: “Eczema is an immune reaction that targets the skin. This chronic skin disorder is produced by inflammation that causes skin to become itchy, red, and dry—even cracked and leathery. Eczema can be triggered by stress, heat and sweat, sudden changes in temperature, extreme cold/dry climates, heredity, airborne/food allergens or irritants. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema and the two terms are often used interchangeably.”
Being that October is National Eczema Awareness Month, I asked Dr. Beer a few more questions about this skin condition (see below). Plus, I’m giving 2 people the chance to win the entire Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Collection.
TBG: Do you outgrow it?
Dr.: Many people do outgrow eczema in their teens. Others learn to better control symptoms with skin care products and avoidance of triggers.
TBG: Are there certain foods you should or shouldn’t eat that can cause flare ups?
Dr.: There are but it is individualized and there is no set list of foods that all people with eczema should avoid. For infants, it is crucial to keep a diary and track what they eat when the eczema is flaring. This can help to avoid triggers.
TBG: Any tips for treating eczema in the winter?
Dr.: The best tip that I can offer is to learn better skin care. Purchase mild cleansers with nourishing ingredients. Use gentle moisturizers that are good barrier creams so the skin barrier stays intact. Don’t scrub the skin and don’t use very hot water to bathe or shower. As soon as you are done bathing a child, try to get a moisturizer on them. If you are in a cold, dry environment and/or in the winter months, use a humidifier so the skin does not dry out while the child is sleeping.
TBG: What ingredients are best to use to treat the condition, and what ingredients should you stay away from?
Dr.: I like products that contain oatmeal to help calm and soothe the skin. Ingredients such as glycerin and ceramides (the lipids found in the skin) are also great. Avoid fragrances, dyes and acid containing products whenever possible.