Managing Eczema: A Dermatologist's Guide to Skin Care as You Age
Eczema is often associated with childhood, but it can rear its head at various stages of life. Let’s explore how eczema evolves as we age and essential tips for managing it.
Eczema Through the Ages:
Eczema tends to be a common concern for little ones. As children grow and transition into adolescence, their skin undergoes changes—it thickens, becomes oilier, and their skin barrier strengthens. Fortunately, eczema often improves during this phase. However, aging brings new challenges.
As we get older, our skin becomes thinner and more prone to oiliness, making eczema more likely to resurface. It's a common story: you could tolerate various skincare products in your twenties, but suddenly, in your thirties and forties, they start irritating your skin. This is precisely why, as you age, you must be cautious about the products you use, especially if you have a history of eczema.
The Importance of a Healthy Skin Barrier:
Ideally, your skin barrier remains strong and intact, allowing you to incorporate a wide range of skincare products from essentials like our Face Wash and Face Cream to the more advanced Day Preventive and Night Repair Treatments. However, stress, dietary choices, or allergies can trigger eczema flares and skin irritation, necessitating a change in your approach.
The moment a flare-up occurs, it's crucial to pause any advance treatment steps. No more day or night treatments. Instead, go back to basics—gentle cleansing, a supportive face cream, and zinc-based sunscreen should be your daily essentials. Stick to this routine until your skin calms down. Afterward, you can reintroduce active treatments. Often, we unknowingly exacerbate our skin problems by using products that don't agree with our skin.
Choosing the Right Products for Sensitive Skin
When selecting skincare products, particularly if you have sensitive skin, it's essential to steer clear of common allergens. Here are a few key culprits to avoid:
- Fragrance: Fragrance is a top offender when it comes to skin irritation.
- Essential Oils: These can also cause reactions in sensitive skin.
- Lanolin: Recent studies have shown that lanolin, an allergen, is a common trigger for eczema.
If you're uncertain about a product, consider patch testing it on your arm before applying it to your face. Remember, our skin evolved in a world with minimal exposure to skincare ingredients. Today, we're inundating our skin with numerous products, each containing a multitude of ingredients. This increases the likelihood of irritation.
Interestingly, the rise of clean and plant-based beauty has led to an unexpected consequence—the increase in allergic reactions to skincare products. Many plant-based products contain ingredients that can irritate your skin.
The Doctor Rogers Difference:
At Doctor Rogers Skin Care, we offer plant-based and biodegradable products, but every ingredient is hypoallergenic. We aim to be part of the solution, not the problem. While you don't have to use our products, it's crucial to educate yourself about ingredients that may not agree with your skin. Using as few products as possible can minimize the risk of irritation or eczema flares caused by your beauty regimen.
Meet the author:
Heather D. Rogers, MD, founder of Doctor Rogers Skin Care, is a double-board certified dermatologic surgeon who sees patients full-time at her practice Modern Dermatology in Seattle, WA. She is a graduate of Stanford University, the University of Washington School of Medicine, and completed her dermatology residency and fellowships at Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. These recommendations are not sponsored, but are the result of Dr. Heather D. Rogers, MD evidence-based research and extensive clinical experience.