The challenges of living with Eczema
Eczema is a condition that affects daily life in many different ways. For those who haven’t been affected by Eczema it can be hard to understand the impact it can have on daily wellbeing. From the discomfort of the ongoing tightness and itch to the additional energy needed to prevent scratching manage skincare, diet and the normal daily activities that others can often take for granted.
It’s an ongoing journey, and a road filled with ups and downs. It’s hard not to be disheartened when you’re feeling like you have things under control and then a flare-up comes from out of the blue.
There will be a trigger, but finding it can like looking for a needle in a haystack. Plus, with so much conflicting advice around it can also be hard to know where to turn and who to trust.
One of the hardest things when I was on my family’s eczema journey was the realisation that what might work for one person can actually be a trigger for another. And also that things change over time and can stop working. It’s like there isn’t a definitive rulebook for Eczema, and that can leave us feeling helpless and disheartened.
What I have discovered from talking with our amazing eczema community and experts over the years though, is that there does seem to be a common thread which bring us all together - Our skin barrier and the role it plays in eczema treatment and management.
How does a damaged skin barrier affect Eczema?
The skin barrier is the outermost layer of our epidermis and its microbiome, which protect the lower layers of the skin - keeping things supple, healthy and hydrated.
Studies have shown that when the skin barrier is damaged it loses moisture and allows irritants to penetrate the skin more easily. This is why you may find that when your skin is dryer it also becomes more sensitive to triggers such as allergens and cosmetics.
The irritation and inflammation can cause intense itching which is very hard not to scratch. However, scratching the skin causes even more damage to the skin barrier, which results in more irritation and thus more scratching. This is often referred to as the itch-scratch cycle.
What causes skin barrier damage?
Some common causes of everyday skin barrier damage can be our environment and the products that come into contact with our skin:
- Air conditioning & central heating dehydrate the skin, causing excess dryness.
- Pet fur, pollen and dust are common trigger for atopic skin reactions which result in itching and barrier damage.
- Harsh exfoliants, over-exfoliating, and skin-peels can damage the surface of the epidermis.
- Allergens from soaps, cosmetics and laundry cleansers irritate and dry out the skin.
- SLS/SLES (Sodium laurel/laureth sulphate) in shower gel, shampoo and bubble bath disrupt the barrier and cause skin dryness.
- Hand sanitisers – since the pandemic there’s been an increase in the unavoidable regular use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers causing skin irritation and barrier damage. This has been an additional challenge for the eczema community in recent years.
How can we protect and repair our skin barrier?
Although damage to the skin barrier cannot be completely avoided, we can take extra precautions to protect it from damage and help with skin barrier repair.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to add Dead Sea Salts for eczema to your bath a few times a week. Westlab Dead Sea Salts have been proven to be microbiome-friendly while naturally protecting and restoring the skin barrier. The unique benefit of Dead Sea Salts for eczema prone skin is that they contain soothing, skin-barrier friendly minerals in natural abundance, and the bath is the easiest and most effective way to nourish your skin with these minerals in their purest form.
- Magnesium – is soothing and anti-inflammatory
- Potassium – balances skin moisture and hydration
- Calcium - regulates healthy cell turnover
- Sodium – is deep cleansing and purifying
Another way to maintain a healthy skin barrier is to avoid the use of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES). These lathering agents are very commonly used in shower gel, shampoo, bubble bath and even in eczema bath products, but not only are they known to cause skin dryness, they also can damage the skin barrier.
Our Dead Sea Bath & Shower Gel for eczema has been formulated to protect and maintain the skin barrier without causing dryness or irritation. Free from SLS/SLES and infused with Dead Sea Salt, it also gently moisturises the skin and can be used as a bubble bath for eczema.
These award-winning, clinically-proven natural products help leave your skin feeling softer, smoother, calmer and more comfortable. Try for 30 days and see if you can feel the difference.
Colloidal Oatmeal is also very effective for protecting the skin barrier and soothing the skin. You can experiment in creating your own eczema bath soak by blending colloidal oatmeal alongside Dead Sea Salts for eczema soothing goodness. with some Dead Sea Bath & Shower gel too for the ultimate DIY home-spa treatment for naturally softer, more supple skin.