Eczema can have relapsing (repeated flare-ups) and long-term duration. Following the treatment and other recommendations of your dermatologist can help to reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups, as you may need anti-inflammatory medicine. Following the given steps after acute signs and symptoms clear can help prevent further outbreaks (relapse of symptoms):
Keep your skin well moisturised: Skin in eczema becomes dry and itchy, so applying moisturizers to keep the skin moist is essential to control eczema. Frequent moisturising helps to lock in the skin’s natural moisture and prevents dryness and cracking. Applying moisturiser after bathing is important to lock in the moisture in skin. When bathing, take care not to irritate the skin.
Avoid irritants: Avoiding contact with irritants (such as soaps, bubble bath, perfumes, cosmetics, laundry detergents, household cleaners, spending a lot of time in water) is essential to control eczema symptoms. Exposure to any irritant after control of symptoms can cause flare-up (relapse of symptoms). Try to recognize what irritates your skin and limit contact with it. Do not use personal care products that contain alcohol and no need to wash hands too often as this will help to reduce irritation.
Avoid sweating and overheating: These are one of the most common triggers of the scratch/itch cycle. Hence it is essential to prevent these situations if possible. In addition to this avoiding sudden changes in temperature and humidity can also help. Exposure to high temperature can cause overheating leading to sweating and itching. Exposure to low humidity can dry the skin and lead to a flare-up.
Avoid scratching: Scratching leads to a scratch-itch cycle and can worsen the skin condition. It can damage the skin which allows bacteria to enter and cause an infection. If you are itching, use a cold compress to control the itch. Applying a cold compress gently on the inflamed skin can reduce inflammation and itching.
Wash clothes well: Double rinse clothes to ensure that all the detergent is washed away. Use fragrance-free and neutral detergent. These can help to prevent flare-ups caused by laundry detergent. Wash new clothes before wearing as it removes excess dyes and fabric finishers which can irritate the skin. Remove tags as well, as these can rub the skin and cause irritation.
Wear loose-fitting cotton clothes: Synthetic fabrics, wool, and fabrics which feel rough to the touch often irritate the skin and trigger a flare-up. Cotton and cotton-blend clothes allow the skin to breathe and usually make skin feel better.
Follow your treatment regimen: Use all your medications as recommended. This can go a long way toward controlling flare-ups.