How to take action on eczema

National Eczema Week runs from September 15 - 23, 2018. And this year, the experts from the National Eczema Society are urging those affected to take steps to manage their condition more effectively.

According to the charity, one in five children and one in 12 adults in the UK have eczema, with some children growing out of their eczema during early childhood, only to see it recur again in later life.

If mild, it can cause dry, scaly, red and itchy skin. More severe cases may involve weeping, crusting and bleeding, with constant scratching making the skin split, leaving it open to infection.

There’s no cure for eczema, but there are treatments that can help keep it under control. However, National Eczema Society experts suggest many people affected by the condition aren’t managing their eczema as well as they could be.

Eczema is a highly personal condition, they say, and the factors that trigger it can vary widely from one person to another. People also respond differently to eczema triggers, which means what works for some won’t work for others. That’s why it’s often necessary to try different treatments before you find a self-management regimen that works well for you.

Action tips

To help you manage your eczema more effectively, the charity offers the following tips:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Your local Careway pharmacist can give you lots of advice on over-the-counter treatments for eczema, including emollients and topical steroids, as well as how to use them safely and effectively. They can also tell you if you can take antihistamines to soothe severe itching, and give you information on techniques to help a child with eczema to help them get a good night’s sleep.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.

There’s lots more information on managing eczema at www.eczema.org. You can also call the National Eczema Society Helpline on 0800 089 1122 if you need more advice.