Friday, 06 March 2015 15:35

Soothe and Control Clients’ Eczema

Written by   Jeannette Graf, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center

One of the most common skin issues facing us when treating our clients is eczema. Eczema is skin that has simply become so dry that it results in symptoms such as itching from inflammation and rough, red, and dry skin, often with scaly, rough areas. Eczema can show up on the face, neck, chest, and arms.

Since over 30 million Americans cope with the symptoms of eczema, chances are there are a number of them among your clients.

First, before any skin care service, skin care professionals must take a history to see what medications the client is on and get dermatologic clearance. It is also important to take a careful history of what skin care products the client is using. For example, the client may be using a soap that is too detergent or abrasive exfoliating products that irritate their skin. Bad habits like this can trigger flare-ups or aggravate eczema.

One of the major issues with eczema is skin sensitivity and impaired moisture barrier function. The outer layer of the moisture barrier is essential for skin health. It must function optimally at a pH of 5.4 in order for the skin to function at its highest protection, keeping moisture in and potential irritants out. That means that when giving a facial to clients with eczema, every product must be soothing and support the moisture barrier, which is laden with protective lipids.

Any form of exfoliation should be discouraged, since it may aggravate the eczema. Instead, encourage clients to use soothing anti-redness products, algae masks, and lipid-laden products in any form, including cleansers and masks, and they should massage while using the products. Misting should always be cool – never hot. Recommend the client finish off with a (broad-spectrum UVA/UVB) mineral-based sunscreen and a sunscreen lotion with SPF 40 broad-spectrum protection.

For homecare, the client should be consulted for products that help to restore the lipids needed for optimum moisture barrier function and keep the symptoms of eczema under control.

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