Eczema and exfoliation is a touchy subject. Because eczema is characterized by a dry, itchy rash that can blister and weep, many people think exfoliation will irritate this common condition. But others believe exfoliation is an essential part of eczema care.
It turns out that both are valid points. The secret to exfoliating is using proper sensitive skin care so you remove dry skin in a gentle way. Exfoliation, when done the right way, can help get rid of dead skin that causes itchiness. Exfoliating also helps moisturizers and topical treatments penetrate the skin better.
So skip scratching and start exfoliating. Just remember not to do it too often at first—add it to your skincare routine gradually. Over time, your skin will feel smoother and look healthier. Which will make you more confident about showing it off.
Do’s for Exfoliating With Eczema
To make your exfoliation routine go smoothly, take a gentle approach with a few key tips to protect your skin and have a smooth experience.
DO use soap for sensitive skin: Play it safe when you exfoliate with soap and a brush or cloth. Your skin is already irritated, so be kind to it and use a natural product that soothes and moisturizes. Look for soaps with only a few ingredients and not too many chemicals. Organic soaps or soaps made with goat’s milk and natural ingredients are the best.
DO choose soft exfoliating products and tools: You don’t want to damage your already delicate skin, so look for a scrubbing tool or exfoliating ingredients that are gentle on your skin and not too abrasive. Opt for a soft brush that will help lift dead skin cells without being too scratchy. If you use an exfoliating cream, buy one for sensitive skin that uses a gentle abrasive ingredient like rice powder.
DO rinse with warm water: Hot water can cause redness, inflammation, and irritation. Be sure to use lukewarm water to help calm your sensitive skin.
DO Make Your Own DIY Scrub: Natural sugar scrubs are great for dry eczema, where there’s no weeping or oozing. They’re gentle and the sugar contains glycolic acid which helps heal the skin. Plus, most homemade scrubs pair sugar with oil, so you get exfoliation and moisturizing at the same time. Whip up a batch on your own and see how it feels.
Don’ts for Gentle Exfoliation
Now that you know the things you should do to exfoliate safely and smoothly, keep in mind a few techniques that should be avoided when caring for sensitive skin.
DON’T exfoliate every day: Exfoliating too much can make your eczema more irritated and strip your skin of much-needed moisture. Start your exfoliation routine by doing it once every week or two. This allows your skin time to shed dead cells and heal properly.
DON’T scrub too hard: When applying gentle soap with a brush or using an exfoliating scrub, press down on your skin gently in small circles. Massage your skin, don’t scrub it. This will prevent damage and irritation.
DON’T use chemical peels: Some exfoliating products use chemical peels which are often too harsh for sensitive skin. They can cause drying and redness. Read labels carefully and skip products with many chemicals in general.
DON’T exfoliate weeping or oozing eczema: Exfoliation works for dry, thick, eczema-affected areas. If your skin is wet and weeping, skip the scrub and just wash with a gentle soap formulated for sensitive skin.
The Final Step
Eczema exfoliation is just one step in a healthy skin care routine. What you do after exfoliation is just as important. Every time you exfoliate, be sure to protect your skin by applying a rich moisturizer made with natural ingredients.
This will make your skin healthier and help reduce inflammation and the chance of infection. Be sure to use moisturizing products made especially for sensitive skin care, preferably ones that are free of dyes, perfumes, and alcohol. This final step will keep your skin happy, moist and itch-free.