Treatments and preventions for dry and eczema-prone skin | Diprob

 

Getting to grips with dry & eczema-prone skin

Let’s take a closer look at causes and triggers, protection and maintenance.

 

If you suffer from dry skin, you’re not alone

It’s a condition that can affect anyone at any age. There are several factors that influence dry skin presenting (age, health, environment and the cause) and it may lead to:

  • Loss of moisture which can make skin feel tight and rough, with flaking, scaling or peeling
  • Potential cracking, redness and itchiness 

What’s the difference between dry skin and eczema-prone skin?

Dry skin occurs when too much water escapes through the skin’s outer layer, called the ‘skin barrier’.

People with eczema-prone skin can have a damaged skin barrier, which can make it harder to retain moisture. This makes their skin particularly prone to dryness, which can trigger red, itchy eczema symptoms.

You can have dry skin without having eczema-prone skin, but both can have symptoms alleviated by the use of moisturisers, with the aim of ‘locking in’ moisture.

So, let’s take a closer look at causes and triggers, protection and maintenance...

    Dry skin
    Dry skin may be caused by a range of factors, such as:

    • Cold weather
    • Central heating, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves
    • Hot baths and showers
    • Harsh soaps, shampoos and detergents

    Dry skin can be caused by some skin conditions, such as eczema. If you have eczema-prone skin, you may well have dry skin too.

    Eczema-prone skin
    Doctors don’t know the exact cause of eczema-prone skin, most types of eczema are thought to involve a combination of a person’s genes (inherited from their parents) and a trigger that sets off eczema-prone skin symptoms. 
    A wide range of everyday factors may trigger eczema-prone skin symptoms. These can vary from person-to-person and common triggers can include: 

    Dry skin
    When skin gets too dry it can become scaly and rough which can trigger an eczema “flare-up”.

    Irritants

    • Soaps
    • Shampoos
    • Household cleaners
    • Fragrances
    • Metals (particularly nickel)
    • Cigarette smoke
    • Glues and adhesives
    • Fabrics (wool, synthetic fibres)

    Emotional stress

    Sweating or getting too hot

    Hormonal changes

    • Before a woman’s monthly period
    • During pregnancy

    Environmental conditions

    • Cold and dry weather 
    • Dampness

    Environmental allergens 

    • Pollen
    • Dust mites
    • Animal fur 
    • Mould

    Food allergies 

    • Cows’ milk 
    • Eggs
    • Peanuts
    • Soya
    • Wheat

    Skin infections

    By taking the time to identify the triggers for your eczema-prone skin you will be able to take steps towards understanding your condition and helping manage your symptoms.

    Getting the most from moisturisers

    • Moisturisers form a protective layer that helps skin retain water 
    • This helps to ‘lock in’ moisture, to help protect skin against drying 

    There are three basic types of moisturiser, classified according to the amount of oil and water that they contain: 

    Ointments

    • Have the highest oil content
    • Are very good at ‘locking in’ moisture
    • Have a greasy feel on the skin

    Creams

    • Have a lower oil content than ointments, but higher than lotions
    • Are good at ‘locking in’ moisture, but not as good as ointments
    • Feel less greasy on the skin than ointments

    Lotions

    • Have a high water content and are non-greasy
    • Contains the least amount of oil
    • Spread easily

    Whether you’re using an ointment, cream or lotion, always moisturise within a few minutes of bathing, showering or washing your hands. This ensures that you seal in moisture and protect the skin from drying out. Diprobase has a range of moisturisers to help protect dry or eczema-prone skin, with formulations to meet your individual needs and preferences. Find out more on the ‘Our products’ page.

    Our products

    Dry skin

    Dry skin can itch, flake, crack and even bleed. Happily though, there are things you can do to help dry skin stay comfortable:

    Take care with baths and showers 

    • Close your bathroom door to help increase humidity (moisture in the air) 
    • Use warm, not hot, water 
    • Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser 
    • Gently blot your skin dry with a towel (don’t rub yourself dry) 

    Apply moisturiser straight after drying skin 

    • Moisturisers work by trapping existing moisture in your skin 
    • Always apply moisturiser within a few minutes of washing and drying your body, face or hands 
    • Choose a moisturiser to suit your skin needs 

    Use gentle skincare products 

    • When skin is dry, avoid using harsh products 

    Keep gloves handy

    Be sure to wear gloves when:

    • Going outside in winter
    • Doing things that make your hands wet
    • Using products that could irritate your skin

    Consider clothes and laundry 

    • Wear non-irritating fabrics, such as cotton and silk 
    • Try a gentle laundry product 

    Don’t get too hot at home 

    • Sitting too close to the fire or a radiator can dry your skin

    Make your air more moist 

    • Use a humidifier at home to increase moisture in the air 

    Eczema-prone skin

    If you have eczema-prone skin, ‘locking in’ moisture can be made harder than normal. The result – your skin may become very dry.
    Dry skin can trigger a ‘flare-up’ – that is, the sudden appearance or worsening of symptoms. Follow the maintenance advice for dry skin given earlier in this section, to help maintain moisture.

    The itch-scratch cycle

    If your skin does become itchy, the temptation is to scratch. This may provide temporary relief, but damage to the skin can lead to external and internal factors exacerbating the condition and so the vicious cycle continues. 

    Circle diagram of itch cycle from dry skin to itching and irritation


    Relieving itching

    It can feel like itching is impossible to stop, especially when you’re resisting the temptation to scratch. However, there are things you can do to help:

    • Reduce the risk of itch happening in the first place
      • Have a daily bathing and moisturising routine
      • Apply moisturisers liberally throughout the day
    • Try and avoid things that may trigger your itch (e.g. sitting on grass or rough upholstery with bare legs)
    • Wear soft, breathable, natural materials next to your skin
    • Pinch and pat itchy skin, rather than scratching it
    • Apply a cold compress
    • Protect skin from night-time scratching:
      • Wear cotton gloves
      • Cut fingernails short

    Diprobase has a range of products to help you stay one step ahead of eczema-prone skin, so see which ones suit you best. 

    Our products