Eczema is a prevalent skin condition affecting the young and old across the globe. Unfortunately, our humidity and heat certainly do not help counter common eczema symptoms like itchiness, inflammation and even scaling. Yahoo Shopping chats with Dr Sheila Chua, Board Certified Dermatologist and Head of Medical Affairs, Galderma Japan & Asia Pacific Region, on the common triggers and tips on dealing with eczema.
In this article, we also delve into common queries, misconceptions, and specific dermatologist-approved Cetaphil products and its newest Optimal Hydration launch that may help ease the symptoms of eczema.
Yahoo Shopping: What is eczema? What are the different types of eczema and its symptoms?
Dr Sheila Chua: Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition encompassing a group of diseases that causes the skin to become itchy, inflamed, or have a rash-like appearance. There are many different types of eczema, with atopic eczema being the most common. Common symptoms include dry skin, itching, redness or inflammation, and scaling. The condition can range from mild to severe and from acute to chronic.
Why do so many people get afflicted with eczema suddenly in adulthood?
Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions worldwide. One in 10 individuals will develop eczema during their lifetime, with prevalence peaking in early childhood. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common type of eczema that starts in early life. It affects children and adults and a similar number of males and females. However, studies have shown it is more common in adult females than males. Latest statistics indicated that about 15 to 30 per cent of children and 2 to 10 per cent of adults have eczema worldwide. Prevalence has been increasing in many Southeast and South Asian countries. For example, in Singapore, about 20.6 per cent of children and adolescents are affected, and about 11 per cent of adults are.
What are the triggers for eczema?
Eczema results from a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that lead to skin barrier disruption. An individual with eczema is often highly irritable and easily triggered by seemingly harmless triggers that we encounter in our daily lives, such as heat, sweat, cold, dust, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, perfumes, and stress. In addition, a family history of eczema and allergic conditions poses a greater risk of developing eczema.
Are there practical ways to control eczema?
First, you should identify your triggers and avoid them as much as possible. Second, moisturising daily helps to control eczema as it aids in reducing the severity of the symptoms and repairing the damaged skin barrier. Finally, choose suitable products, such as the Cetaphil PRO AD Derma Skin Restoring Moisturiser, formulated with ceramides and filaggrin ingredients. Filaggrin is essential for producing natural moisturising factors (NMF) that maintain adequate skin hydration. The lack of filaggrin leads to a weakened skin barrier prone to dryness, inflammation and constant itching, which triggers scratching and subsequently creates a vicious itch-scratch cycle.
Should we use cold water for bathing and washing our faces? Would warm water aggravate the flare-ups?
A good skincare routine that includes daily bathing and moisturising is crucial for managing eczema symptoms and preventing flares. Bathing benefits include improved skin hydration and getting rid of bacteria and allergens that might otherwise linger on the skin. On the other end, excessive and prolonged exposure to water and hot water can strip the skin of natural oils and sebum and trigger eczema flares. Therefore, having at least one bath or shower a day in lukewarm (not hot) water for 10 to 15 minutes using mild or soap-free cleansers followed by immediate emollient application is ideal and should be part of the routine skin care for patients with eczema.
What can Cetaphil do for the skin?
The Cetaphil® PRO AD Derma range is formulated especially for eczema-prone skin. It is enriched with Filaggrin and Ceramide Technology™ to help to break up the eczema itch-scratch cycle by restoring the skin barrier, retaining moisture and relieving itch. In addition, the range has been clinically tested and is fragrance-free and paraben-free.
Does the use of a dehumidifier or air purifier work?
Studies have shown that changes in environmental conditions such as humidity can significantly impact the skin. Very dry air (low humidity) can extract moisture from the skin. Humidity levels tend to be lower in the winter, and with the use of air conditioners. Using a humidifier to achieve a humidity level between 30 and 50 per cent may be helpful. However, there is still no conclusive scientific evidence that humidifiers help people with eczema, but some have found them helpful.
What tips do you have for eczema patients?
For eczema patients, it is recommended that they consult a dermatologist first to assess their skin condition and determine appropriate products to use. Purchase products from reliable brands that have invested in proper research and development of their products. Read the label and opt for products with minimal potential allergens or irritants. Be aware that not all "natural" or "organic" labelled products are suitable or good for eczema.
Yahoo Shopping delves deeper. Here are Cetaphil's recently launched Optimal Hydration products, targeted at boosting skin water content by 50 per cent and providing 48 hours of hydration you can consider. The Hydrosensitiv Complexis is formulated with several key skin-loving ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Panthenol (Vitamin B5) and Vitamin E. Blue Daisy is a natural skin-soothing botanical ideal for calming sensitive skin. Endorsed by Korean model-actress Lee Se-Young, best known for her roles in K-drama The Red Sleeve (December 2021) and horror film Hotel Lake (April 2020), we can take a leaf from her skincare routine.