Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions in the UK and can affect any age group. It can occur anywhere on the body, although the skin creases are the most commonly affected sites. Symptoms include itching, redness, dryness and cracking of the skin. The itch can be so intense at times that people scratch until the skin surface is broken, resulting in bleeding, sores and infection. Eczema can be very distressing for patients and their families but the good news is that there are many treatments available and it can be managed well with proper skin care and lifestyle changes. Here are our top 5 tips:
Tip 1. Establish a good daily moisturising regime
Keeping your skin well moisturised is one of the most important things you can do to keep your eczema under control. You should apply a fragrance-free moisturiser at least twice a day, especially after washing.
Tip 2. Follow a good bathing routine
Instead of soap or shower gel, which can strip your skin of its natural oils and make dry skin worse, use a fragrance-free soap substitute or bath oil.
Have a shower or bath with warm rather than hot water and don’t scrub your skin. After washing, pat your skin dry and apply moisturiser.
Tip 3. Wear comfortable cotton clothing
Pure cotton clothing and bedding is less likely to irritate your skin than wool and synthetic fabrics. Use a fragrance-free non-biological laundry detergent and avoid fabric softeners.
Tip 4. Avoid scratching your skin
Scratching your skin will make you itch more. Keep your fingernails short and find ways to control the urge to scratch such as patting the skin, frequent moisturising and taking cool baths.
Tip 5. Identify and avoid triggers
Common eczema triggers include fragrance, house dust mite, exposure to grass, changes in temperature or humidity and stress. Keep a symptom diary to help you identify potential triggers and take measures to reduce stress levels such as exercise, meditation and deep breathing techniques.
Dr Sarita Singh, BSc (Hons) MD MRCP
Clinics at Lister Hospital and Chelsea Outpatient Centre
Phone: 020 7060 7123