Whether you suffer with eczema or not, if you’ve been watching The Night Of you’ll be aware of how debilitating the skin condition can be. For those who aren’t acquainted with the hit American thriller, the lawyer John Stone (played by John Turturro) suffers so badly he can’t even wear shoes, instead he walks around with velcro sandals and cling-film wrapped feet. John visits a number of dermatologists, who prescribe steroids, ointments and UV lamps in a bid to relieve his sore, red, itchy feet and ankles. He eventually finds a Chinese medicine expert, who mixes up a thick green juice concoction that manages to cure his feet enough that he can finally wear shoes.
Eczema is key subplot to the TV show and has brought the condition to the forefront. But John isn’t alone, in the UK over six million people battle with eczema. “It’s very common, even more so in people who also suffer with hay fever, asthma and/or allergies,” dermatologist Emma Wedgeworth tells The Telegraph. And while the condition generally tends to improve slightly over the summer months, in the winter when our skin is naturally drier it can become more irritated.
In honour of National Eczema Week, we spoke to the experts about how to soothe your skin if you’re a sufferer.
What is eczema?
Eczema is skin condition where skin becomes sore, dry, itchy and inflamed. “A normal skin barrier is like a perfectly layered brick wall, with skin cells being the bricks and the lipids, acting as the mortar,” explains Francine Krenicki, the senior vice president and product developer for Skin Fix. “A weak skin barrier is missing some of the lipids or mortar and lets water out and irritants in which can trigger irritation and inflammation.”
Keeping skin hydrated helps…
There are three main types of hydrators available to help soothe the skin. Humectants, which include hyaluronic acid, lactic acid and glycerin, retain water in the skin, while occlusive agents seal the water in and prevent it from evaporating, which is why dermatologists always recommend applying a cream over your serum. Emollients are the third type and help to soften the surface skin by smoothing any flakes.
Choose the right skincare for soothing eczema
When it comes to inflamed skin, you want to avoid irritating it as much as possible. Wedgeworth recommends, “Swapping your soap for emollients or bath oils to wash with and minimising the use of foaming shower gels to your armpits, skinfolds and hands and feet will help limit aggravation of the skin.”
The best cleanser for eczema–prone skin
La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser, £12.50, is fragrance-free and very gentle on the skin.
The best lotion for eczema-prone skin
Skinfix Eczema Soothing Lotion, £14.39, has been clinically proven to soothe dry, itchy, irritated skin. The formula is 98% natural and nut-free. Impressively, it has also been endorsed by the National Eczema Organisation.
The best face cream for eczema-prone skin
Cetraben Cream, £3.99, won’t cure your eczema, but it will help moisturise your skin and soothe the itchiness.
Wedgeworth recommends applying lipid-rich emollients liberally and up to five times a day if your skin needs it.
And consider making some tweaks to your lifestyle, too
- Swap your bio detergent for a non bio formula. It’s soft on your skin and will reduce irritation.
- Keep bathtime short and sweet. Wedgeworth recommends opting for showers over baths where possible and ensuring the water is lukewarm rather than hot.
- Ditch the sponge, scrub and face cloth as these can all be too abrasive for sensitive skin.