Skin is our largest organ, so what’s happening on the surface is also going to effect what is going on under the skin, internally. In fact, new studies are pointing to a link between a compromised skin barrier (atopic dermatitis and eczema) and the development of allergies that can get worse throughout childhood and beyond.
According to New Jersey Allergist & Immunologist Tina Zecca, DO, there is a lot that parents can do to help safe-guard their kids’ skin; “The skin makes up most of our body and immunologically it is such an important mediator in terms of immune response,” says Dr. Zecca. “If you look at it as a window to the body, when skin is cracked and compromised, it allows allergens like dust and pollen in. The idea is that if you apply a barrier repair product, you can prevent the window from opening and will hopefully not let these allergens into the body.”
What not to do:
- Don’t auto-pilot to your local pharmacy for a common moisturizer when eczema flares. Some over-the-counter moisturizers can do more harm than good for compromised skin. OTC products with a high pH or potentially allergenic ingredients can actually irritate skin and make it more itchy.
- Resist baby products with fragrance. We all love that fresh baby smell, but products with added perfume are detrimental to the skin of a child with eczema.
- Don’t be a germaphobe. One theory is we’re TOO clean. The Hygiene Hypothesis suggests that when we bathe our babies frequently, often daily, we disrupt the skin barrier and let allergens in.
Do this instead:
- Look carefully for “fragrance-free” on product labels. Look into everything your skin may come into contact with, from moisturizers to laundry detergent.
- Avoid preservatives. Ingredients like formaldehyde and propylene glycol can trigger skin allergens.
- Ask your doctor about prescription barrier repair products like EpiCeram®. The benefit of EpiCeram is that it has free fatty acids and other essential lipids in the right ratio to repair the lower layers of the skin, and a controlled release to penetrate deep into skin over time. The pH mimics the skin’s natural pH so it is not going to burn or irritate.
- Make “soak and seal” part of your daily bathing routine. Apply a barrier repair product within the first few minutes after bathing to help skin retain essential moisture. You can’t tell a baby to stop scratching, so the idea is to infuse skin with moisture, heal the barrier and thereby make skin less itchy.
New York City Dermatologist Judith Hellman sees a rise in cases of atopic dermatitis and eczema. “More patients of all ages are presenting with complaints and symptoms related to atopic dermatitis today. It is an all too common skin disease that affects people from infants and toddlers all the way to senior citizens. Some patients experience periods of flares followed by periods where they have no symptoms and their skin clears. However, this is often a chronic problem that can greatly interfere with an individual’s daily life. Environmental and emotional factors definitely contribute to these flares and genetics plays a big role as well. The best line of defense is to see a dermatologist early to learn how to avoid triggers and to choose the right remedies and products to manage your skin. The worst thing you can do is to scratch which can harm delicate compromised skin and cause infections.”
EpiCeram® is only available by prescription. Consult your physician or dermatologist to find out if EpiCeram® is right for you. For more information or full prescribing information, go to http://epiceram-us.com