To sufferers of eczema, psoriasis, and other dry skin conditions, certain adjustments need to be made to the skin in order for the skin to behave normally. These include adjustments in exfoliation, moisturization, and overall treatments to get the skin to behave normally.
Exfoliate once a week
Optimal exfoliation rates vary from person to person, and the situation is no different for eczema sufferers. Due to their sensitive and parched skin, most eczema sufferers should exfoliate only once a week at maximum, or even less if their skin becomes irritated after exfoliation (The International Dermal Institute).
If you suffer from more severe forms of eczema that have many dried plaques or patches of flaky skin, you should avoid any sort of harsh detergents, soaps, abrasives, and fragranced products. Exfoliating serum containing fragments of shells or sharp exfoliating beads may also cause irritation. Instead, you should use the gentle exfoliators, salicylic and lactic acid.
Any old moisturizer won’t help with your eczema. You should look for ingredients which penetrate deeply into the skin and both replace and maintain skin’s moisture. Ingredients which can soothe inflammation, improve barrier function and eliminate bacteria are even better. Eczema is helped by glycerin, which helps draw water in from the environment as a humectant. It is also assisted by dimethicone, which helps to soften the skin as an emollient, and draw water in from the environment as a humectant.
Calendula is also renowned for its ability to treat dry skin. For example, it was found in one study to treat the symptoms of exfoliative cheilitis, or excessive drying and flaking of the skin on the lips (Cases Journal). Calendula officinalis has also demonstrated significant anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties against gram positive and negative pathogens, as well as fungi (Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice). Even better, this plant extract has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oedematous (anti-swelling) abilities that are likely beneficial in treating severely dried or lesioned skin (Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research).
Use Amino Acids
Defects in eczematous skin have been linked to issues with skin’s filaggrin (Journal of Investigative Dermatology). Filaggrin is a protein that binds to keratin fibers in epithelial cells. Filaggrin is essential for the regulation of epidermal homeostasis. Filaggrin undergoes processing in the upper stratum corneum to release free amino acids that assist in water retention. In eczematous skin, where filaggrin is damaged, it cannot release the appropriate numbers of amino acids necessary to keep the skin soft, smooth, and hydrated. As a result, by using skin care that contains ample amounts of the amino acids eczematous skin needs, the symptoms of dry, flaky skin are significantly alleviated.
Treating eczematous skin can be tricky – exfoliate too frequently and you can further irritate already dehydrated and sensitive skin. For the best results, you should exfoliate about once a week and use skin care that contains amino acids.