Eczema and Dermatitis

Managing Compromised Skin-Steps to Reduce Dryness and Irritation

+ Pamela Friedman

In a prior post, I talked about compromised skin and all the many things in life that can cause it. In summary, compromised skin is skin that has a damaged outer layer, and can no longer protect you as well from outside bacteria and contaminants. That’s why when it’s exposed to things like allergens, irritants, and chemicals, it can become inflamed and sore. Compromised skin also has difficulty holding onto moisture, which is why it becomes dry, itchy, and flaky.

Many things can cause compromised skin, including conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Medical treatments and medications can also disrupt skin’s normal function, as can allergens, other health issues like diabetes, and overexposure to chemical irritants. Many of these skin conditions have no known cure.

The good news is that by taking a little more care in how we treat our skin, what we use on it, and what we expose it to, we can alleviate symptoms, help improve the condition of skin, and even restore its health and vitality.

What can we do about it? As to the solutions for compromised skin, there are many, and I’ll be talking more about these in more detail in future posts. The main thing is to remember that your skin is sensitive and fragile, and requires a tender touch. Here are a few tips to get you started. Watch for more in the upcoming weeks!

  • Stay away from products full of chemicals. Look for fragrance-free, gentle formulas that contain natural ingredients like aloe, shea butter, honey, and essential oils.
  • Wash your skin gently with a gentle cleanser, then pat dry-never rub. If you’re suffering from dry skin, using lukewarm, not hot, water.
  • Always, always protect your skin from the sun. Wear clothing and use a safe sunscreen like zinc oxide.
  • Don’t limit your product exploration to only skin-care items. Take into account as well your shampoos, conditioners, body washes, deodorants, shave gels, and makeup. Any and all of these could contribute to skin irritation.
  • Take note as well of things like your detergents, household cleaners, candles, and air fresheners. Any of these products can trigger flareups if they contain harsh chemicals. Get used to shopping for gentle, non-toxic options.
  • If your skin condition is connected to allergies, keep a journal for a couple weeks to try to identify what you’re allergic to. Note when you experience a skin flare-up, how long it lasts, and what activities you participated in that day (including any suspect materials you may have come into contact with).
  • Some skin conditions flare up during periods of stress. Look for stress-relief options that work for you like regular exercise, meditation, daily journaling, yoga, time with friends, or art therapy, and work these activities into your schedule on a regular basis.
  • Consider buying a shower filter. People with compromised skin can be sensitive to chemicals like chlorine, which some cities use to purify water. A shower filter will remove these types of chemicals.
  • Moisturize moisturize moisturize. Sensitive and compromised skin often needs more moisture than normal skin. Get used to carrying small bottles of moisturizer in your purse and in your car, and store some in your desk at your office.
  • Wear plastic or rubber gloves when washing dishes or cleaning. Always protect yourself from exposure to harsh detergents and chemicals.

Are you suffering from compromised skin? Do you have tips for our readers?

Photo courtesy shutterstock.