Last week was National Eczema Week and organisations which support some of the millions of people who suffer from the skin condition, are encouraging us to look at the way they may be managing their condition and whether there are better treatments or lifestyle changes which would help.
“Many people aren’t managing their eczema as well as they could and we all need a nudge sometimes to make some improvements!” says a spokesperson for The National Eczema Society. “Eczema is a highly personal condition and people respond differently to triggers and treatments. Sometimes you need to try a few things before finding a self-management regimen that works best for you.”
Eczema is a dry skin condition and is also known as dermatitis. The way it presents itself varies from person to person and the condition comes in many different forms. In mild cases of eczema, the skin is dry, scaly, red and itchy. In more severe cases there may be weeping, crusting and bleeding. Constant scratching causes the skin to split and bleed and also leaves it open to infection though you can’t ‘catch’ eczema from someone.
In the UK, one in five children and one in twelve adults have eczema while eczema and contact dermatitis account for 84-90% of occupational skin disease. The National Eczema Society, suggest a seven point review of your approach to treating your eczema, as it could help settle your symptoms and offer relief.
Keep your home cool to ease itching – around 18°C is ideal.
Go fragrance-free. Anything with a strong scent, from soap to air freshener, may be irritating to your skin.
Mind the gap! Leave at least 10 minutes – or ideally longer – between applying an emollient and a topical steroid. This stops the steroid spreading to areas of skin unaffected by eczema or being diluted. It doesn’t matter which is applied first.
Pinch itchy skin rather than scratching it, to avoid damaging the skin’s barrier.
Use your emollients at least twice a day to prevent dryness, and at other times whenever your skin feels dry and itchy.
Go back to basics on skincare. Check with a healthcare professional for advice to make sure you’re applying your creams properly and managing your eczema triggers as best you can.
Don’t cut foods out of your diet without medical advice unless you or your child have been diagnosed with a food allergy. If you cut foods without support, you/they may miss out on important nutrients.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. For more advice on managing your eczema call the National Eczema Society Helpline on 0800 089 1122 (8am-8pm, Monday-to-Friday) or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org