"Don't Scratch" - the dreaded words we often hear and hate. We don't want to scratch; it's more of a need. I could insert motivational words here about how it's mind over matter and how I believe in you, but, ultimately, the body will probably win. Itching is an immune response. It is making you feel itchy because it wants you to react to something it thinks is hurting you. And the body likes to get its way - you'll feel itchier and itchier until you can't handle it.
Maybe I'm being dramatic because I am itchy now and just made myself bleed. I'm sorry. What I'm trying to say is that we should have realistic goals. I don't think not scratching is realistic. I think controlling how we scratch is more realistic. Here are my tips:
1. keep your nails short and filed so they're smooth. Fingernails are weapons for eczema sufferers.
2. Use cold compresses when the skin is completely out of control. It helps calm it down.
3. Touch your itchy spots and rub instead of scratching with fingernails.
4. Have "hell no" scratch zones. Mine is my face. I've had serious eczema on my face and I know that scratching will make it go down a very bad path. I avoid scratching my face as often as possible.
5. Love yourself and your body. Sounds mushy, but your skin is a part of you. Instead of feeling like it's attacking you, be compassionate towards it. This will help you be more gentle with it when it's acting up.
6. Have a "no scratch" mantra, phrase, song, etc. Mine is the "Let it go" line from Disney's Frozen song. It's a great line for not scratching!
7. Avoid bleeding! Instead of "don't scratch," we should hear "don't bleed" from our loved ones. We really should avoid making ourselves bleed.
8. Forgive yourself. It's hard when you try to not scratch and you fail. Forgive yourself and try again.
9. Stop the itching. Not as easy as it sounds, I know, but many times there are reasons for the flare-up or there are things you can do to reduce the itching. Remove yourself from the allergen, take an antihistamine, meditate, distract yourself, calm down, etc.