There is a lot of information on the internet that covers different eczema prevention techniques aside from the use of topical steroid creams. In all likelihood, each eczema sufferer will have to develop a routine that works best for them to keep free from eczema. In this page, I would like to summarize my personal routine for reference. Hopefully, there are some ideas here that are useful to the reader.
1. Every day I try to ensure I have an intake of at least 8 to 10 glasses of water to keep myself sufficiently hydrated. I do not intake distilled pure water (a commonly misunderstood product in HK with no nutrients whose original intent was to be sold as an industrial product). I mostly try to intake plain water, else I try to take in liquid that can be easily broken down and absorbed by the body for healing and regeneration, e.g. freshly squeezed fruit juice / vegetable juice / water mixed with a spoon of honey or organic apple cider vinegar or green tea or home-made soup. I keep myself away from soft drinks, alcohol, coffee, and packaged beverages with preservatives as I believe the content in these beverages degenerates the health rather than regenerate the health. Note: To assess your own level of hydration, you only need to look at the colour of your urine, if it is clear, you are fine, if it is yellow, you are dehydrated, if it is orange, you are severely dehydrated.
2. Every day I will moisturize my entire body from head to toe at least once (twice during flare outs) immediately after a cool shower while my skin is still subtle from the wash. When I moisturize, I have also learnt to not just apply the cream to my skin and but to spend time (15 minutes) to massage and rub the cream generously into the skin to ensure the skin is relaxed and the beneficial ingredients are absorbed by the skin. This ensures the cream you are using not only performs the function of barrier protection but also tissue healing and locking in moisture.
3. Every week, I will have a pedicure routine to keep my nails as short as possible. This is to minimize the damage that comes with scratching as an unavoidable part of eczema suffering. Longer nails will do greater damage to your skin during scratching, so it is important to keep your nails short and clean. Additionally, it is a good habit to try and first brush an itch spot with the tip of your fingers rather than scratch it with fingernails but this requires constant mind drumming to overcome the intuitive reaction.
4. Everyday, I would still continue to take antihistamines to control my itching sensation as it makes a huge difference. As my condition improves and health strengthens, I hope to reduce my dosage and reliance on antihistamines. Note: I have been searching for alternatives but yet to find an effective alternative.
5. On taking showers, I always take a cool shower (lukewarm during the winter). When my skin is extremely dry during the middle of bad flare outs, I would take 2 showers a day to keep the skin soft and moist contrary to a lot of advice on minimum showering. However, the key with this routine is a cool shower rather than a warm/hot shower that would make the skin drier and more irritable. When I take a shower, I do not use soap. Instead, I use sebamed’s shower oil during bad flare outs (massaging it into wet skin before rinse off) and baby cleansing products when my skin is in reasonable shape. I would always end a shower with a 30 seconds cold rinse (as cold as possible). This helps to close up pores and stimulate circulation. I find it also helps to subdue the nerves from “heatiness” and “extreme itching sensations” as I step out of a shower. After a shower, I tend to drip dry for 30 seconds and immediately rub and massage on my moisturizers before the skin dries up. I do not towel dry which may irritate the skin and if it do, I tend to pat dry with a towel rather than doing a rub down.
6. Getting sufficient rest and avoiding late nights. If you want good skin, it is imperative to get rest early and have sufficient sleep. The body begin it’s renewal cycle from 9pm and this is optimally performed when you are resting. On the contrary, late nights is bad, it not only impedes the renewal cycle but overworks the organs accumulating more toxins in the body. I use to goto bed between 1 to 2 am and rely on coffee to carry me through the day. I now tend to goto bed around 12am. Hopefully, I can move it to 11pm as my health strengthens and I become more active and stop taking naps.
7. You become what you eat and this isn’t just about staying away from allergy foods. This is a big topic and I will separately cover in another page.
8. Wear cotton clothes. Stay away from man-made synthetics.
9. Under your allergy triggers. Go and take a skin prick test or blood test to find out your allergy triggers.