Can you make changes to your bedroom to help with your eczema?
The answer is yes! So let’s take a look at how!
To start off, let’s look at your bed linen.
Look at whether you are using a natural bed linen, or a man-made synthetic material such as polyester, or a polyester mix. Man-made materials which can also be added to natural materials, can cause you to get hot when you’re sleeping and then make you itch.
There are several natural materials that you can choose from, so it’s just a case of preference. My preferred natural material is Bamboo.
As Bamboo is hypoallergenic, it can be cooling in the summer and keep you warm whilst you’re asleep in the winter. It doesn’t suck moisture away from your skin which is good for your eczema, as this bed linen can help prevent your skin from becoming overly dry.
Another natural fabric, derived from wood pulp is Tencel. I’ll be honest and let you know that I haven’t yet tried it, but I have read many reviews that leads me to believe that it may be as good as bamboo for those who find most materials irritating to their skin, as it is super soft. The benefits of using Tencel bed linen for eczema sufferers are that the material which is made up of two different natural fibres is breathable. It absorbs moisture without overly drying the skin and helps the skin to stay cool and dry.
Another natural fabric you have definitely heard of is cotton. The positive thing about cotton is that it is natural and therefore shouldn’t cause you to itch with irritation, unless the colour/dye is the issue. However, cotton can pull moisture away from your skin, leaving it overly dry, so you should aim to use as tight a weave as possible. I have found that organic cotton has the tightest weave, although it might sound bougie and posh, but it will be better against your skin. The tighter the weave, the better the cotton fabric.
A natural pillowcase that I love to use is silk. It is nice and cool against the face, and its slippery texture prevents moisture from being drawn away from the skin. It is way too expensive and bougie for me to purchase an entire bed linen set. Often silk bed linen sets may require dry cleaning instead of machine washing, which means chemicals used during the process, coming into contact with your skin. For now, I have been able to purchase machine washable silk pillowcases, which I am happy with. Again, I opt for a natural colour and keep away from dyed materials, after an unfortunate encounter with a dyed red silk pillowcase that left me with a rash all over my face.
A non-natural fabric that I only use for pillowcases and no other bed linen is satin. The name satin pertains to the weave of the fabric and is often made up of both natural and synthetic materials. It will definitely create too much heat as a bed sheet or duvet cover, but the material is a vegan friendly alternative to silk, to put your face against when asleep. I switch between satin pillowcases, bamboo pillowcases, and silk pillow cases.
Before I move on, I should point out that although wool is a natural material, this can cause discomfort and itching to the skin, so it is best to keep away from this natural fabric.
When it comes to comfort that doesn’t involve the bed itself, another thing to consider is the warmth of your room. I know it’s not quite possible for all people to sleep with their windows open if you live in the city, due to noise, and pollution, but if you live in the countryside then do open your bedroom window. Even in the winter time, have a little bit of the window open but through the summer open it as wide as you can, as long as it is safe and as long as you’re not bringing in unwanted pollution or pollen into the air.
Now, with that being said, if you aren’t able to have a window open or it is still too hot in the bedroom then use a fan. Keeping your bedroom cool is a must as heat can irritate your skin as you become too warm. In my son’s bedroom, he has two. One fan on a low setting, oscillating left to right, through the night and the other used mainly in the summer, directed only toward his body.
Another area of concern that shouldn’t be overlooked is the moisture level of your bedroom. If the air is too dry this too, can affect your skin. In the UK, central heating causes the air in all rooms throughout your home to dry out. A simple fix for this is a humidifier. We have a mini humidifier in each of our bedrooms which we use when the central heating is on in the winter months. The small ones don’t make much, if any noise, and they’re inexpensive. I paid between £20 – £30 for each of ours. Just add water and watch the vapor be released into the air.
If you don’t want to go down the route of a humidifier, you can put a bowl of water underneath your radiator when the central heating is on and although you can’t see it taking place, the water will slowly evaporate into the air.
With these different ways of making improvements to your bedroom, don’t forget that for most of us, eczema is a symptom of what is going on inside the body, so it is important to look at the foods you are eating. If you want ideas of where to start, head over to our YouTube channel for access to free videos advising you how to help yourself.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a country where you have easy access to clean drinking water, thank your lucky stars.
However, there are some downsides to drinking and using tap water on your skin that you need to know about.
So, here we go.
To prevent the buildup of dangerous bacteria in our tap water, which could cause illness, disease and even death, water companies must add certain chemicals to tap water, to prevent all these things from happening. This is a good thing, but for those with skin conditions your tap water could also be a trigger for your reoccurring eczema and other skin conditions.
There are of course chemicals that don’t have to be added to tap water which can further exasperate your skin issues, such as fluoride, but that is a whole other blog on its own.
Whether you are drinking your tap water or washing with it, all these different chemicals added to our supplied water can affect your skin. Also, as tap water travels to our homes through miles of pipes, other chemicals both naturally occurring and through accidental contamination, can also be picked up along the way. If you find that you are reacting to tap water, it is definitely worth considering how you can make changes that will help your skin.
The way your skin reacts to water, can also be affected by whether you live in a soft or hard water area. The University of Sheffield conducted research, which showed that hard water had a worse affect for those with eczema, than those living in a soft water area.
Here’s what you need to know:
Whether you live in a soft or a hard water area of the country, there are certain precautions you can take before using your shower;
Moisturising with an emollient, preferably a natural emollient before water touches your skin is a big help. A natural butter or an oil on your skin before you have a bath or a shower can be anything from your kitchen: shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter, avocado oil, olive oil, etc. These oils or butter helps protect your skin by creating a barrier between the skin and the water.
Once you are in the bath or shower make sure you only use warm water as hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and also dry out the skin. Spend no longer than 20 minutes in the bath.
Consider buying a shower head called an ionic shower head. The head of the shower has little mineral and negative iron balls, which help to filtrate and strip out some of the chlorine and impurities from your water. It is particularly beneficial to those with sensitive skin and skin conditions, especially, if you live in a hard water area.
If your preference is to have a bath, you can add salt to the bath, as this really helps soothe the skin. In my household, we switch between using fine Pink Himalayan Salt, Dead Sea Salt, Epsom Salts and Sodium Bicarbonate/Bicarbonate of Soda. These easy to find salts help to soothe your eczema and skin. You then have the choice to use them all together or separately. Either way, using a cup of each of these in your bath will benefit your skin, instead of using over the counter bath foam which can irritate and dry out the skin because of the chemical ingredients and the chemical fragrance.
If you’re happy to sit in a bath with cloudy water, then also consider adding Bentonite Clay. This is a fantastic detox, that draws impurities from the skin. It can also be used as a face mask when a little water is added.
To dry your skin, pat yourself dry, then moisturise straight away to lock the moisture in…remember not to rub the skin too aggressively. I would suggest that if you’re having a bath or shower more than a couple of hours before bedtime, make sure that before you get into bed, you moisturise again. You are definitely worth the time you spend on yourself,
Another option for those living in the hard water areas of the South of England, is to have a water softener fitted to the main supply of your water system at home. The softener works by stripping out the calcium and the sodium from the water as these irritate, inflame, and cause the skin to become too dry.
Now as a last tip, one thing we do in our household specifically for my son and myself, because we can sometimes get dry itchy skin, or just as another way to treat the skin with care, as a preventative measure, is we create our own colloidal oats. Colloidal oats is used by those with eczema or sensitive skin because it helps to calm inflammation, create a protective barrier between the skin and skin irritants, soothe the skin and alleviate itching. It is also used by anyone who simply wants a natural way to look after their skin. Again, I use ingredients from our kitchen. Specifically, gluten free organic oats that we eat for breakfast. You can use a food processor, or if you have a clean coffee grinder, you can put some of the oats into the coffee grinder to make it into a fine powder, or just leave it as it is. You can either mix it directly into the warm water as the water is running in the bath, or I prefer to stuff some of the fine oat’s powder into the foot of tights, stockings or a muslin bag. With the opening knotted I hang the stuffed stocking foot/muslin bag on the tap or leave it in the bath where the water is running and let the water hit the filled bag of oats (or stocking foot). It’s really soothing for your eczema, and it works a treat.
If you’re using colloidal oats, adding the different salts and/or bicarbonate of soda to your bath, then moisturising yourself with natural butters and/or oil, this should work fantastically well to soothe and protect your skin from the outside. So then all you now need to do is take care of yourself from the inside.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If you know of other natural tips that you want to share, please do let me know.
Spritz face with a natural & organic hydrosol water and then wipe with a clean dry flannel.
Moisturise with a natural face cream that has no added fragrance.
Apply factor 30 or 50 SPF natural/mineral/physical sunscreen…it all means the same thing. Chemical sunscreens cause medium and long term damage to the face. You’re also more likely to have a skin reaction if you have eczema or other skin conditions.
Apply ‘Salt Of The Earth Natural Deodorant Stick’ and ‘SO Refreshing Natural Deodorant Gel – Spearmint’
Tigs & Moo Body Butter (Vanilla & Orange)
With a combination of Vanilla Extract & Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil, this gorgeously scented 100% natural body butter smells so good that you’ll want to lick your own skin. It is also super moisturising, nourishing and soothing.
If wearing makeup, apply Tigs & Moo Naked Body Butter to your dry face, then wipe clean with a warm wet flannel.
Wet your face, apply an unscented natural soap or facial wash, then wipe with a clean dry flannel.
Moisturise with a natural face cream with no added fragrance.
Tigs & Moo Body Butter – starts off as a lightly whipped butter and then quickly becomes a luxurious spreadable oil (my favourite is Vanilla & Orange)
Once a week or once a fortnight
Apply a small amount of a light to medium consistency natural oil to hair and scalp (argan oil, rice bran oil or hemp seed oil).
Wash hair with a fragrance free natural mild shampoo (avoid the cleaning ingredients Sodium Lauryl Sulphate & Sodium Laureth Sulphate)
Condition hair with natural fragrance-free conditioner.
Use a natural leave in conditioner.
Use natural oils or creams on hair (no silicone-based products)
Wear a Satin or Silk Scarf or Bonnet to bed to stop hair drying out and to keep hair off face.
Sleep on silk or satin pillow cases to stop loss of moisture from hair and face. These also help prevent wrinkles, fine lines and premature ageing.
The more simple you keep your skincare routine, the better!
Eczema symptoms may go away for a while, then flare up again. Here are some tips to prevent your itching from worsening, becoming inflamed and possibly getting infected:
Keep away from Fragrance!
Fragrance is usually synthetic, unless it specifies that it is natural. One synthetic fragrance can be made up of 30 or more individual synthetic chemicals that cause skin sensitivities. These can all trigger your eczema. It is in in your body wash, facial wash or anything you use or put on your skin that isn’t natural with no added fragrance. For some eczema sufferers, even natural essential oils/fragrances can be a trigger.
Natural Skincare & Ingredients
When you choose your skincare products, always look at the labels.
Go for Natural Oils:
…The list is endless, but some of these oils can cause blockages of pores, so be wary. Remember we are all unique, so what may affect one person positively, may not affect another in the same way.
Is something you are eating triggering your Eczema?
Some of the big food triggers for eczema sufferers, as well as processed junk foods can be natural gluten and milk, eggs, peanuts and oily fish. However, there are many others. The only way to know what you are sensitive to is by doing an temporary exclusion diet for a fortnight, and then reintroducing one trigger food back at a time to see if you react.
Ultra Processed/Junk Foods
These foods are so far removed from being natural, that I believe they should come with a health warning about how artificial and dangerous they really are! They are massively processed, and that is not good for the body.
They are highly addictive due to the sugars, fats, and salt in them. To achieve eczema free skin, it is better to stay away from these.
Natural/Man-Made Bedding & Clothing
Avoid natural scratchy material such as wool; and avoid man-made fabrics like polyester. Instead, you can wear bamboo clothing! It is soft against the skin and let’s your skin breath. I would also opt for natural cotton that hasn’t been dyed with any type of colour.
Except for wool, natural products are always a yes.
Eco Friendly Laundry Liquid
Don’t use harsh soaps, detergents, or solvents. Again, these are massively synthetic which can cause your eczema flare-up. If possible, opt for a fragrance-free brand. As you know by now, anything with added fragrance is a possible trigger for a flare up.
This one is sometimes overlooked. You go around spraying or using plug-in air fresheners around your house, so as well as inhaling it, you are also sitting in and on it, as it lands on your soft furnishings such as your sofa. You’re basically causing your immediate environment around the home to be full of allergens that trigger your eczema, and even asthma.
Is your house too dry?
It’s a good idea to add some moisture to the air in your home, if you have central heating.
This can help avoid having dry skin and aid a comfortable night’s sleep if you have issues with your sinuses.
If you’re sweating a lot, it’s important to have a shower or bath, as your sweat can be a trigger.
Take warm baths or showers and keep them short. Long, hot showers can dry out your skin, making it more prone to flare-ups. Don’t forget to slather on a body oil or body butter based moisturiser on your skin before and after you shower.
Drink enough water!
It’s important to stay hydrated both on the inside and the outside. Don’t neglect one over the other, as looking after the body and the skin are equally as important for the prevention and care of eczema.
Where necessary, work with your health practitioner to find the right treatments for you.
For more information, check out our YouTube video;
What is it? What causes it? How to I know I definitely have it?
If eczema look different on different skin tones, and even appears differently on the skin, depending on its severity or type, then your first port of call is going to be seeing a doctor, or even your local pharmacist or naturopath.
Itching skin is often, but not always the first, symptom followed by dry patches, inflamed skin, rough, thick skin and if itched, broken and also infected skin.
Eczema can vary in intensity when it comes to how irritating the itch can be and it also varies in time when it comes to how long it lasts.
In some cases of eczema, the skin can react to tap water, but the most common triggers are detergents, skincare, body soaps, food products, grass, allergens and lack of humidity, stress, or a combination of these elements.
For some sufferers, the main cause of worry is that reaction can occur without any apparent reason, even if a person isn’t exposed to the usual triggers. This is where triggers such as stress or lack of sleep can also be looked at.
THE BEST TIME TO DEAL WITH THE SYMTOM OF ECZEMA IS STRAIGHT AWAY, BEFORE IT SPIRALS OUT OF CONTROL AND GETS WORSE.HOWEVER, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO GET STARTED
Cradle Cap (Infant Seborrheic Eczema) Looks crusty but isn’t itchy. It mostly affects babies up to age of 1 year old.
Adult Seborrheic Eczema: Appears on scalp as mild dandruff but can end up on ears, face, and chest. Normally found in 20-40 year old. It looks flaky and can become inflamed. Normally cause by an increase in yeast, and if it becomes infected it will need anti-fungal treatment.
Dyshidrotic Eczema: More common in women than men. Appears as small fluid blisters on hands and feet. Blisters can itch and hurt and skin can crack and become flaky.
Caused by: Allergies, stress, damp hands & feet, exposure to substance like nickel, cobalt & chromium salt.
Hand Eczema: Dry and itchy, may form blisters or cracks. It is triggered by exposure to irritant causing chemicals. Using antibacterial gels can trigger hand eczema as well.
Nummular Dermatitis: They look like a round coin shaped dots on the skin, it can itch a lot and become scaly. It is triggered by insect bites or an allergy reaction to metal or chemicals. Atopic dermatitis is also a trigger for nummular dermatitis.
Stasis Dermatitis: Triggered by fluid leaking out of weakened veins into the skin. It causes swelling, itching & pain. It mainly effects the lower leg and feels achy and heavy. Possible for people who suffers varicose veins with dry itchy skin over the veins, which may develop open sores.
For all of these, don’t think there is nothing you can do about it if you have been told it is genetic or it keeps reoccurring. As well as treating the symptom itself, you will need to start looking at what is causing your eczema.
We are all unique, so what triggers one person’s eczema, may not be the same for another person.
It is definitely useful to keep a food and lifestyle journal to document everything.
WHAT YOU ATE THAT DAY, WHERE YOU ATE, WHO COOKED
PRODUCTS YOU USED: SKINCARE, HAIRCARE, SUNSCREEN, PERFUME, MAKEUP
JEWELLERY WORN THAT DAY
WHAT YOU DID: SWIM, WALK IN CITY, WALK IN WOODS, CLEAN HOUSE
LENGTH OF TIME AND TEMPERATURE OF BATH WATER
STRESSFUL DAY, FUN DAY, GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP, EXERCISE, AIR CONDITIONING, CENTRAL HEATING
SYMTOMS OTHER THAN ECZEMA EG. STOMACH PAIN, SINUSES, HEADACHE, SINUS PAIN, ARTHRITIS PAIN
If something as simple as sweat can be a trigger for your eczema, then is is definitely worth documenting for 2 weeks before starting your exclusion diet. Removing all known eczema triggers for 2 weeks then reintroducing one at time to see if there’s a reaction.
Once food, skincare and your environment have been addressed, you can also look at gut health and possible supplementation to help your gut, skin and overall body health.
See Eczema, Supplements & Powders Part 1 & Part 2 on YouTube.
Once you deal with the triggers and the possible cause of your eczema, you will start to suffer less and less. It isn’t a one cure fits all condition, as we are all unique and eczema is multi factional. It won’t be cured or healed overnight but the symptoms will start to reduce and calm down.
For more information, check our YouTube channel to help with your skin journey! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE, like, comment & share!
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