A new season can invite a fresh perspective, a wardrobe overhaul... and an unfriendly skin flare-up. For those 15 million people in the UK suffering with eczema, it can feel like an uphill battle to regain control and a sense of balance. The maddening itch, red appearance and dry, cracked texture can be disheartening at best and painful at worst.
From diet and the weather to clothing fibres and stress – there can be many culprits that trigger an eczema episode and those who experience it know that once it's in full force, it's difficult to get rid of. But help is at hand and we have the lowdown on eczema so you can better understand the condition, plus some top tips to relieve itching and find the right solution for your skin condition.
WHAT IS ECZEMA?
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is classed as a chronic skin condition that typically affects children but can also strike at any stage of life. The severity can range from occasional or seasonal flare-ups to a constant state of upset that needs consistent management. Whether that manifests itself as a red-purple patch, thick and textured or weeping and dry, there is one symptom all types have in common: itching. The type of itch that drives you to distraction and instantly makes you regret scratching it when you assess the damage it's done.
Typically, eczema can strike anywhere on the body but the most common locations are the hands, feet, creases of elbows and knees, eyelids and the scalp.
WHAT CAUSES ECZEMA?
From extensive research, dermatologists believe that eczema is a result of multiple environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors. This can range from a change in air humidity, soaps and detergents, dust or an increase in cortisol (the stress hormone) caused by stress that can provoke inflammation throughout the body. While it may not be a helpful list of offenders, a process of elimination can be useful as triggers tend to be individually unique.
While it is believed that those with allergies such as asthma and hayfever are more prone to eczema, various studies have revealed that eczema also seems to be connected to the intestinal microbiome; therefore balancing our gut health and identifying triggers is paramount to alleviate symptoms.
HOW TO TREAT ECZEMA
The bad news is, there is no treatment that will cure eczema indefinitely. But, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to control flare-ups and minimise symptoms long-term. Lifestyle aids such as yoga, walking and meditation can ease stress and lower cortisol levels, while using fragrance-free detergent can eradicate topical irritants. To treat eczema from the inside, a good quality prebiotic and a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods can balance the bacteria in the gut and strengthen the immune response. So, the next time you hit the supermarket, make sure you stock up on omega-3-rich fish such as salmon, high-fibre foods like asparagus or artichokes to fuel your gut biome and phytochemicals found in green tea, berries and cruciferous vegetables.
With the inside taken care of, good quality, gentle skincare is key to hydrate and heal dry, eczema-prone skin from the outside. Our nourishing Willowberry Sensitive Face Oil is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and both chia seed oil and rosehip oil to protect the skin's barrier and gently hydrate dry skin. Team with our Willowberry Reviving Eye Cream if you're prone to eczema around the delicate eye area, as the ultra-gentle, 99% natural formulation offers light relief thanks to its inclusion of probiotics and green tea.
Article by Jessica Harris
Willowberry is 'Nutritious Natural' skincare for grown-ups for your best skin. Launched in 2017, Willowberry is an award-winning independent British brand that has gained a cult following. Loved by top make-up artists, the streamlined, highly effective range protects skin’s natural barrier function to nourish and transform grown-up skin, with indulgent formulas that feed the skin and soul.