Eczema can be quite a nuisance to our daily lives. Between the itchiness, cracking and redness, you may feel like you want to hide under the covers all day. Then in the stillness of the night, the itching just seems worse and scratching just happens without thought. So let’s talk about how to stop scratching eczema at night.
Have you ever woken up from intense itching or have subconsciously scratched your skin raw during your sleep? Does your little one whimper through the night, scratching at their skin until it bleeds? If so, then you’ll want to check out our blog post this week that discusses tips and recommendations for soothing you or your little one’s eczema scratching at night.
Please keep in mind that although these treatments can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.
Why Does Eczema Itch?
Prior to discussing tips on how to soothe the eczema itch, it’s important to understand where it comes from. According to Dr. Peter Lio, eczema is caused by a leaky skin barrier. (Read more about that here: What Causes Eczema? With Dr. Peter Lio). Once the skin is leaky, the barrier becomes more damaged, looses more water and in turn triggers an inflammation response. There is also a variety of other possible stimuli that can make eczema worse at night, but almost every eczema case is unique.
That being said, prior to soothing your overnight eczema itch, it’s important to understand what might be triggering your flare-ups to begin with. Are you allergic to certain foods or materials? Are you experiencing more stress than usual? These are all questions which are important to ask in order to get to the bottom of what causes your eczema itch.
Not sure what’s triggering your eczema? Make sure to check out our blog post What Triggers Eczema? With Dr. Peter Lio to discover a variety of triggers that may be causing you itchy eczema.
How to Stop Scratching Eczema at Night
If you’ve already identified your trigger (or have not) and are experiencing intense overnight itching, you’ll want to opt for an anti-itch natural eczema treatment. By applying a cream or balm that is meant for itchy skin, you can find much needed relief.
A wonderful anti-itch cream is Emily Skin Soothers for Itchy Eczema that contains olive oil, beeswax and carefully selected Chinese herbs to help you curb the need to scratch. This cream is known for soothing dry skin and calming itchy, red eczema and rashes.
Another great choice is the Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream – a thick, nourishing balm that also contains beeswax and olive oil. This cream is thick and provides moisturizing to even the driest and itchiest skin. An added benefit, it contains Manuka honey and Manuka oil which have anti-bacterial properties.
Lastly, this Itchy Skin Rash Treatment from Zi Zai Dermatology is an excellent emollient for both dry and itchy skin. With a combination of Chinese herbs, beeswax and olive oil, it targets the eczema itch at it’s root – dryness.
Another great tool for soothing the overnight eczema itch are scratch mittens for both adults and children. Scratch mittens not only protect the skin from intense scratching, but can protect against certain allergens or irritants that may be triggering your eczema.
If your little one is suffering from daytime or overnight eczema itch, make sure to check out these ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves for Babies and Children. These mittens have been a lifesaver for so many parents with little ones suffering from itchy eczema. They are easy to put on, stay put and best of all – the mittens fold open for play with the sleeves in place.
Another great option is pajamas that include anti-scratch mittens like this One-Piece Footed Pajama for Kids or these Scratch Mittens Pajama Top or Footed Pajama Pants for older children. These pajamas essentially prevent overnight scratching, which can help your child’s eczema heal and protect their skin from further irritation.
If you’re suffering from overnight itching yourself, then we strongly recommend the Comfymitt Top for Adults. This top includes closed, protective mittens, so that you do not subconsciously scratch yourself raw overnight.
Have you looked into both wet and dry wrapping? They can work wonders on dry, itchy skin and when worn overnight can give you comfort all night long. Both these methods use a rich moisturizer mixed with bandages or wraps to allow the emollients to permeate the skin. With dry wraps, which is a bit easier and less messy, you wear a dry layer of clothing over the emollient for at least two hours, but hopefully overnight for better results. With wet wrapping, which is a bit more intense, but can provide quick results, you wear a layer of damp clothing over the eczema and a dry later on top of that. Many eczema sufferers have found relief with these methods.
If you’re interested in getting started, make sure to check out our Dry Wrapping and Wet Wrap Therapy blog posts for all the details. All you’ll need is an anti-itch moisturizer like one of the above, as well as wraps like these WrapESoothe Body Bands or Remedywear Eczema Sleeves that can be used on localized eczema like behind the knees or on the elbows. For more options like leggings for eczema on the legs or tops for chest or back eczema, take a look at this line from Remedywear, clothing for eczema with zinc, which works great for dry wrapping.
Non-Toxic Laundry Alternatives
Lastly, if you think your eczema might be triggered by irritants or allergens, maybe take a look at what detergents you’re using – especially on those bed sheets! Many laundry detergents contain harmful, toxic ingredients that can be causing your eczema to itch, specifically during the night.
There are many wonderful natural laundry alternatives, such as this SmartKlean Laundry Ball that contains no added fragrances and is 100% hypoallergenic. Even if you don’t find you’re allergic to detergent ingredients, those same ingredients can be so harsh on the skin. Switching to a mineral ball like the one above or soap nuts can help reduce irritation.
If natural eczema treatments or therapy methods aren’t working, you may want to look inside your body to see if certain foods are causing your eczema to trigger. An elimination diet is a structured elimination test (that can be done with your doctor or naturopath) to determine what foods might be causing your eczema and itching at night. Many eczema sufferers have learned to cure their eczema, or at least improve it, just by changing their diet.
To read more about it, make sure to check out our post: Our Eczema Elimination Diet Success (How You Can Do it Too!).
How do you control your eczema scratching at night? Let us know in the comments below!