For the past two years, I have been living and working in Tokyo, Japan. But in March 2022, I returned to the Philippines, and for the past six months I have resided here, the heat, humidity and dusty environment has triggered my atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema). Not to mention the water quality of the island is mostly hard water. Since I cannot change the water quality by installing a water softener, here are my top tips to keep your skin hydrated to prevent itching, scratching and exacerbating your eczema.
My best advice is to stay hydrated, and continuously moisturize the skin throughout the day.Raine Baljak
When showering, be sure the water is not too hot or too cold, the water must be lukewarm. Then when finished showering, do not run the towel across the skin, be sure to pat dry the skin.
When finished showering, be sure to moisturize. I recommend in the morning after showering then mid-morning, mid-day, mid-afternoon, after shower when you return home from outside, then before bed which is equivalent to moisturizing 6 times a day.
Hair & Scalp Care
I used to have a flaky eczema-filled scalp so I use the Derma-E Scalp Relief Shampoo and Conditioner for my scalp care. The shampoo must be massaged into the scalp thoroughly then left-in for 3 to 5 minutes then washed thoroughly. Followed by the conditioner application massaged from the scalp into the hair’s tips then left in for 5 to 7 minutes. After, you may rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Do not rub or tussle the hair vigorously.
Body & Skin Care
For the facial soap, I prefer using the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser because it offers all of the hydrating ingredients necessary for my sensitive skin and easy to wash off.
While for my body soap, I use the Cetaphil PRO AD Derma Skin Restoring Wash. Unfortunately, the content was too strong for my face but it works wonders on cleansing, moisturizing and soothing my body skin to alleviate dryness and itching.
While for the post-shower moisturizing, I use the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream and CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream. The Moisturizing Cream is gentle on the skin and dense in moisture to help restore the skin barrier. While the Itch Relief Cream is what I use when my red flares occur and with its ceramides and 1% pramoxine hydrochloride formulation, to provide me with a fast-acting, long-lasting, temporary relief from itching.
In the event of a red flares occurring, try understanding what triggered it, is it food, the environment, photosensitivity to the sun, or itching itself? The best thing to manage eczema is by preventing scratching through continuous moisturizing.
The key to preventing scratching is to continuously moisturize the skin. So change the habit of scratching by applying lotions and creams instead.
From when I was a child growing into my adolescence then teenage years and now as a young adult, I noticed that as a female, there are hormonal changes that will really affect the evolution of one’s atopic dermatitis. When I was a child, it started as bronchial asthama (which is asthma in the lungs), and then in my adolescence, it evolved into skin asthma (which is atopic dermatitis). According to dermatologists and immunologist doctors that I have consulted throughout my life, this is a common evolution of asthma; so just be aware it can convert from lungs to skin, or skin to lungs as you age. Therefore, it is important to have an allergy test to stay on top of your condition and be fully aware of the dietary and environmental triggers of your condition.
Need more advice?
Based on my lifetime of experiences managing this condition, I would be happy to share more advice so please send me an email, hi@rainebaljak, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.