Eczema is a long term dry skin condition which affects about 1 in 12 adults in the UK. It appears as dry or flaky skin anywhere on the body and can be very itchy.
Itching leads to scratching, which can lead to the skin breaking down, becoming cracked and sore and possibly infected.
There are a number of different types of eczema but essentially we can treat them all in a similar way.
The mainstay of eczema treatment should be avoiding flare ups by regularly using an emollient product to trap water in the skin and also by avoiding triggers which cause flare ups.
There are many different emollients (including dermol, E45, oilatum and many more....) available from your local pharmacy but the key to treatment is regular use of lots of emollient.
In addition soap products should be avoided as these strip the skin of its natural oils. instead consider using a bath additive (e.g E45 bath or oilatum) to soak into the skin and trap even more moisture.
Steroid creams (e.g. hydrocortisone) may well still be needed for flare ups, but regular and frequent use of emollients can reduce the number of flare ups and so reduce the amount of steroids required which is much better in the long run.
Top tips for managing dry skin
- Hoover often to reduce dust and therefore dust mites if these are a trigger for you.
- Were cotton clothes which are much less irritant than other materials.
- Use unperfumed washing powder and avoid fabric softeners.
- At bath time, don't have the water too hot and pat dry with a towel afterwards rather than rubbing.
- Drink lots of water every day
- Apply emollients before and after swimming as chlorine can be a trigger for some people
- The National Eczema Society website contains loads of really useful resources and practice advice for people with eczema and their families
Itchy kids can be miserable. The same principles outlined above apply to treating children with eczema, but there are some great kids products available too.
E45 have teamed up with Peppa Pig to bring you Peppa's Big Bubble Bash. There are really useful questions and answers on the website as well as loads of games and interactive fun.