The Link between Eczema and Alcohol

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… Continued …

Furthermore, moisturizing the skin with eczema is not only about alcohol.

Another common suggestion, it’s also recommended to choose moisturizers that are free of fragrances. Like alcohol, fragrances also can dry the skin.

Emollient vs. moisturizer

Generally, you may think that moisturizer is emollient. But medically, they are not exactly same. Emollient is a medical term used to moisturize the skin – however it is different than regular moisturizers (cosmetic moisturizers).

Typically, emollients are free of anti-ageing properties. They are also un-perfumed and free of alcohol. The major goal of applying emollients is to help skin less itchy and keep it comfortable, flexible, and moist.

Does applying emollients really help for eczema?

Again as written before, dry skin can be a starting point for the flare-up of eczema and it also can worsen the itching inconvenience. The poor level of skin moisture means there is no plenty of water to keep skin healthy and flexible. And this also can increase the chance of penetrating more allergens or irritants into the skin.

For eczema sufferers, emollients are more effective than cosmetic moisturizers in helping to soothe & relive the itchy. They are relatively safer to help create an oily layer on the surface of the skin that is essential to help improve the skin moisture.

In addition, a good skin care routine with emollients can help reduce the use of topical corticosteroid (one of common medicines for eczema). The excessively use of corticosteroid in long term can be potential to cause some serious side effects [5].

Types of emollients

There are several ways to moisturize the skin with emollient. Generally, the type of emollient is categorized according to how it is applied:

  1. Directly applied on the skin, such as with lotion, creams, and ointments. But to help improve the skin moisture for people with eczema, ointments and creams are more recommended than lotions. The use of lotion is not too effective to help improve too dry skin.
  2. Soap substitutes. They are used instead of using regular soaps (typically rich in alkaline that can dry the skin) to cleanse the body. Emollient soap-substitutes are not perfumed and free of alkaline. Though they usually make less foam, but they are safe for dry skin.
  3. Bath oils. They can be directly applied on the skin or added into the bath water. Some of them can be semi-dispersing that cause less oil, while others can be fully-dispersing.

In choosing emollient, it’s much better to prioritize one that you prefer because you will need to use it frequently. However, it may take a little time before you find one that meets your needs.

To keep safe, don’t use a new emollient on the affected skin. Always try the new one on your non-affected skin first! Apply it on the small area of non-affected area, and then analyze whether or not it is your best choice!

Citations /references:


All of these references accessed on Feb 2014


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