When your sweet spots become painful, red, or itchy, it’s not always a yeast infection - and reaching for an over-the-counter medication when you don’t have a yeast infection can actually make things worse. If you’ve got irritated intimate skin, here’s what you need to know about eczema.
What is eczema?
Many people think of eczema as one specific skin condition, but it actually refers to a group of skin conditions that cause itching, inflammation and rashes. Atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis are two of the seven types of eczema. According to the National Eczema Awareness Association, more than 31 million adults and children in the U.S. have some form of eczema.
What does an eczema rash look like?
Symptoms will vary depending on the age of the individual and severity of the condition, but dry, scaly skin is the most common sign of an eczema rash. Itching and open, crusty sores are also quite common. For skin of color, an eczema rash may look gray or brown. If you think your dry, itchy skin might be eczema, be sure to contact your medical provider for proper diagnosis.
What causes eczema flare ups?
There’s no definitive cause of eczema, but research shows it’s most likely related to an overactive immune system that responds to certain triggers by producing inflammation. Eczema affects different people in different ways, and what causes eczema flare ups for one person may not trigger another. For eczema-prone skin, common triggers may include:
- Dry skin
Without a proper moisture barrier, skin can become scaly, rough or tight, which can lead to a flare-up. Managing eczema flares is sometimes as simple as using a moisturizing cream or lotion for eczema.
The personal care products we use every day can cause itching, burning, dryness, and redness. Things like hand and dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, bubble bath and body wash can contain ingredients that may irritate eczema-prone skin. Common irritants include:
- fabrics like wool and polyester
- isothiazolinone, an antibacterial commonly found in baby wipes
- cocamidopropyl betaine, which is used to thicken shampoos and lotions
- metals (especially nickel)
- cigarette smoke
- soaps and common household cleansers
- SweetSpot Labs products are free from common irritants and many other ingredients that can irritate delicate intimate skin. Click here to learn more about our ingredients.
It’s not clear why, but some people experience an uptick in eczema symptoms when they’re experiencing higher levels of emotional stress. Regular exercise, healthy sleep habits, proper nutrition, and even meditation can help reduce stress that may trigger eczema flares.
What’s the best eczema treatment?
There is no known cure for eczema, and treatment typically aims to relieve symptoms like itching. Here are a few simple things you can try at home until you can get an appointment with your medical provider:
- Identify and avoid your personal eczema triggers
- Take a warm bath
- Opt for soft, cotton clothing
- Avoid rough, scratchy fibers and tight clothing
- Try a humidifier when weather becomes cold & dry
- Use a non-soap cleanser like this one with colloidal oatmeal
- Gently pat skin dry with a towel or air dry after taking a shower
- Moisturize every day with a cream like Rescue Balm
- Apply a rich moisturizer like Rescue Balm right after showering to “lock in” moisture
“My daughter has eczema on her hands and fingers which is a tricky place to have it and with only 1 overnight application, her hands were almost as new. Very effective!"
- Chris N.
For more information and resources on eczema, check out the National Eczema Awareness Association or @eczemaconquerors and @nationaleczema on Instagram.