How to survive an eczema flare…

Eczema is the biggest dickhead I know. One minute your skin is clear and you feel amazing, the next minute you wake up itching like mad with red blotches all over you. Why?! I don’t get it! I’m so nice to my eczema…why isn’t it nice to me?!

I’m not sure about you but I can feel when an eczema flare is coming on. I become really aware of my skin and it just doesn’t feel right. It feels like it’s on edge, crawling, goose pimply almost and ultra sensitive to every little thing. I swear when I realise I’m probably going to flare my eyes roll so far in the back of my head that for a split second I don’t think they’ll roll back around. I take action from these first stages, in hope that I can ease or even prevent what I know is about the happen. Sometimes though an eczema flare can take over in a couple of hours so here is how I deal with it.

First of all I take an antihistamine. I try to take one of these every morning but to be honest sometimes I forget and if I have run out of them it does take me a few days to remember to go to the shop. These little babies get me through life! I have read that your body can become immune to antihistamines if you take the same one regularly so I alternate between Cetirizine and Loratadine. I don’t alternate between them daily, I do it so if I finish a box of Cetirizine then next time I’ll buy a box of Loratadine.

Next I will take a salt bath. I use either Epsom salt, Himalayan salt or Dead Sea salt and as of last Sunday (7th May) they were £1.79 in B&M Bargains for a 1kg bag! Go go go! I dissolve around 2-3 handfuls in warm water and soak in it for 30 minutes. I even wash my hair in it as I have found the salt really helps my dry scalp. Whilst I’m in the bath I will also cover my skin in Hydromol and let it sink in. The salts help loads with taking the itch away, whilst softening and soothing the skin. I also find that they really chill me out, which is so important when you are having a flare.

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Before going HAM with the emollients and depending on the intensity of the eczema, I’ll put on any steroid/antifungal creams that I feel necessary and let them sink in for 5 minutes. I only use a thin layer of these creams and how my doctor has instructed me to do so. If your eczema is being treated with steroids and you are unsure about how and when to put them on then please have a long chat with your doctor about how to correctly use them. I will then cover myself in either Doublebase or Hydromol, again it depends on how bad the eczema is. It is important to cover any areas where the steroid/antifungal cream is with the emollient because it will act as a barrier and keep everything protected as well as moisturised.

After the creams have sank in a bit I’ll put on a long sleeved pajama top and bottoms and get into bed. I know what you’re thinking…won’t the creams get on the bed sheets if they’re greasy? Yeah they do a bit. Like I said before, eczema is a dickhead. A massive dickhead.

A good nights sleep can do wondered for skin complaints so get a long nights rest! If it’s the middle of the morning/afternoon after you’ve had your bath then do nothing for the rest of the day. Take some time for yourself, read a book, binge watch a show on Netflix, maybe even have a nap, just relax and don’t ever feel bad about it! Your mind and your skin need it!

The next day I won’t have a shower/bath, I’ll just wash my face with Hydromol and put my emollient on as normal. I know it sounds gross and at first it feels gross but not bathing every day when I’m having flare does wonders for my skin. It also does wonders for my scalp and I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week. This also sounds gross (I swear I don’t smell) but your hair quickly gets used to it and dry shampoo is your best friend!

I repeat these processes until my skin has calmed down. I only have a salt bath 1-2 times a week though because it’s very detoxifying for the skin and I always tapper my steroid usage off, almost like weaning my skin so the itch/scratch cycle doesn’t start again after a week or so.

What do you do for your skin during an eczema flare?

*I know some people may have strong views of steroid use with eczema but please remember we are all on our own journey. Always talk to your your doctor/dermatologist about the correct way to use steroids.

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