The importance of moisturising, moisturising, moisturising for eczema sufferers! Using an all-natural product regularly avoids the side-effects of triggering allergic reactions or hyper-sensitivity which the long-term use of mainstream products may create –
Our understanding of the structure and function of the skin is something that has improved in recent years, and it is now widely accepted that using moisturisers regularly is the most crucial thing you can do to keep your eczema under control.
Normal healthy skin has a high water content and is flexible and elastic. Layers of lipid (oil) in the surface layer of skin, called the stratum corneum, prevent water evaporating from the deeper layers of skin. The outer layer of cells contain a natural water-retaining substance that holds water in the cells, making them swell and press tightly against one another so there are no cracks. The epidermis is said to provide a barrier function, since it prevents foreign substances entering and excessive moisture being lost.
In atopic eczema the normal barrier function of the skin is disturbed, possibly as a result of genetic changes. The layers of lipid in the stratum corneum are not formed normally, and this means that water can more readily evaporate from the skin’s surface. This allows the cells in the stratum corneum to dry out. When they dry out they shrink, and cracks form between the cells. This further reduces the ability of the skin to retain moisture, and the skin surface cracks as it dries out, allowing allergens, irritants and micro-organisms to penetrate more easily.
This means that the biggest solution to eczema is to use regular moisturisers to rehydrate and help restore the barrier function of the skin. This in turn reduces itching and scratching, and prevents the penetration of allergens and irritants, thereby reducing their ability to trigger inflammation. It also reduces the ability of micro-organisms to penetrate the skin and cause infection.