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22 Jun 2018

Why maintenance between flare-ups is important

Maintaining your skin's moisture level is very important if you're prone to eczema. In fact, the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) says:

“[keeping] skin prone to eczema well hydrated with regular moisturising… is the most important single thing anyone with eczema can do” 

ASCIA, 20151

But why? Frequent moisturising helps replace moisture that may be lost through the defective lipid matrix (see The differences in eczema-prone skin for more on the lipid matrix). Eczema-prone skin is deficient in some of the vital components that help lock moisture into the skin.2 This leads to moisture constantly being lost, and if it isn’t replenished then you can wind up with dry, dehydrated skin that's susceptible to environmental irritants working their way inside.3

Maintaining your skin's moisture level is very important if you're prone to eczema.

How often should I be moisturising?

ASCIA recommends moisturising 2-3 times a day, and after every bath or shower.1 This is especially important if you spend a lot of time in dry or hot conditions (like in the air-con at your office or outside in the sun). Also, if water is left on your skin after bathing or showering and then it evaporates, some of the moisture within your skin can be lost.4,5 To prevent this, moisturising immediately afterwards is recommended to help preserve the moisture in your skin.1

To find the best way to maintain your skin's hydration, talk to your dermatologist, GP or pharmacist. They can work with you to figure out how to manage your eczema-prone skin.

It may help you to learn more about some key components of your skin like ceramides, so you can understand what's happening and how to manage it.

  1. ASCIA, Information for patients, consumers and carers; Eczema (atopic dermatitis) [internet], 2015 [updated 2015; cited 2018 May 11]. Available from: https://www.allergy.org.au/images/pcc/ASCIA_PCC_Eczema_2015.pdf
  2. Sajic D, Asiniwasis R, Skotnicki-Grant S. A Look at Epidermal Barrier Function in Atopic Dermatitis: Physiologic Lipid Replacement and the Role of Ceramides. Skin Therapy Lett. 2012; 17(7):6-9.
  3. Hon K.L, Leung K.C, Barankin B. Barrier Repair Therapy in Atopic Dermatitis: An Overview. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2013; 14:389-399.
  4. Eichenfield L.F, Tom W.L, Berger T.G, Krol A, Paller A.S, Schwarzenberger K. et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis: Part 2: Management and Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis with Topical Therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014; 71(1):116–132.
  5. Chiang C, Eichenfield L.F, Quantitative assessment of combination bathing and/or moisturizing regimens on skin hydration in atopic dermatitis. Pediatr Dermatol. 2009; 26(3):273–278.


20 Jun 2018
20 Jun 2018
What are ceramides, and what do they do for me?
Read the article >