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What is Eczema + How to Treat It

By Kaleigh Fasanella, she/her

WHAT IS ECZEMA?

Put simply, eczema is an umbrella term that’s used to describe a broad range of inflammatory skin conditions. Similar to acne, which comes in many forms—cystic, inflammatory, and so on—eczema can be broken down into different sub-categories that are further defined by their unique characteristics. In other words: you and I could both have eczema, and yet, it could affect us in completely different ways based on what type we have. 

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adam Friedman sheds light on some of the most common forms. “Acute eczema is comprised of swollen, red, itchy, commonly blistering lesions that ooze fluid when the blisters break,” he says. “On the other hand, subacute eczema is generally more of what we think of when considering eczema — the lesions are commonly chronic and appear as scaly, red, thin or mildly thickened plaques.” 

Another commonly known form of the condition is atopic dermatitis. According to Dr. Friedman, most people with this type of eczema have compromised immune systems, adverse skin reactions to allergens in the environment, and difficulty fighting off certain viral, bacterial, and fungal infections due to the inflammation present in the skin. 

“It’s also known that individuals with atopic dermatitis or eczema tend to have defects in the way that their skin makes the ‘cement’ that holds the top layer of the skin together,” explains Dr. Friedman. “This results in increased water loss and therefore dry skin, and it gives allergens and microbes easy entry.”

In regards to who it affects, eczema is a very common condition that impacts humans of all races and ages. 

WHAT TRIGGERS ECZEMA? 

Again, just like with acne, there are many things that can trigger eczema and cause it to flare. According to Dr. Friedman, said triggers range from harsh soaps and detergents, to low humidity and frigid temps, to sweating and wearing rough or itchy fabrics. Additionally, folks with eczema are typically sensitive to artificial fragrance in skincare, as well as any ingredients that can strip the skin, such as grainy physical scrubs and certain chemical exfoliants. 

HOW CAN I TREAT ECZEMA?

This is where we hit you with the good news. You see, despite all of the discomfort that comes with having eczema, it can be well-managed by implementing the proper skincare products into your routine (so long as you have a mild or moderate case that doesn’t require medication, of course). Dr. Friedman says preventing dryness is the ultimate key when it comes to controlling eczema, which is why he highly recommends emollients that aid in softening the skin, occlusives, which work by trapping moisture and humectants, and “water grabbers” that attract and hold water in the skin.

Youth To The People's Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream is rich in emollient oils and soothing adaptogens, as well as antioxidants that shield the skin from environmental stressors—aka eczema triggers. You can use it during the day or at night, and it can be topped off with a dollop of the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Oil to lock in moisture and further prevent dryness.

As far as occlusives go, the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask is an A1 option, as it’s not only rich in squalane—an occlusive that mimics your skin’s natural oils, thereby improving hydration—but also humectants like hyaluronic acid, as well as emollient ingredients like sunflower seed oil and vitamin E. 

Another foolproof product to have in your eczema prevention routine arsenal is the Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist, as it works wonders on dryness and inflammation due to its ultra-calming and moisturizing properties. Made with hyaluronic acid, reishi, shea butter, aloe vera, and ashwagandha extract, it immediately soothes skin and reduces the appearance of redness—as well as scaling and roughness. The best part? You can use it any time of day and as often as you want or need.

Finally, Dr. Friedman suggests using a super-gentle, non-stripping cleanser to avoid aggravating the skin. YTTP’s Superfood Cleanser is beloved by those with eczema because it’s jam-packed with soothing agents like green tea, spinach, aloe vera, and panthenol (a form of vitamin B5), as well as vitamin E to nourish the skin and help retain moisture. Like the Adaptogen Mist, it instantly improves the look and feel of rough red eczema patches—plus, it contributes to healthier skin in the long term, too. 

Written by Kaleigh Fasanella for Youth To The People




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