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The itch-scratch cycle and how to apply eczema cream-


I was always under the impression that foundation should be smoothed on in a downward motion (so it doesn't clog your pores) and that cream or moisturiser should be rubbed in any which way so that it penetrates your skin.

However, I read recently (in the directions on one of the many emollients I have forked out for recently) that you should just smoothe it on gently in the direction of the hair growth.

Thinking about it, this makes perfect sense. After all, vigorous rubbing-in is pretty much akin to a gentle scratch. As most eczema sufferers will know, although scratching feels good at the time, it ultimately only makes your eczema worse. This is known as...

...The itch-scratch cycle!

  • An allergic reaction can trigger the production of histamine in your skin

  • Histamine is a chemical that can trigger the itch receptors in your skin

  • This sends a message to your brain to scratch

  • Scratching increases the inflammation of your skin, causing redness and swelling.

  • This activates your nerve fibres and immune system, causing more itching

  • Further scratching damages the already weak skin barrier and worsens the condition of the skin

  • This makes it itch even more!

Now that's what you call a vicious cycle. People will just tell you not to scratch - but it's easier said than done! Because the stimulation of histamine can be one fo the main causes, anti-histamine tablets are a good way to counteract the effects.

Whatever else you do, applying your eczema cream, emollient or ointment in the right way will ensure you don't aggravate your skin condition any further.

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