Eczema, also known as allergic dermatitis, is a really frustrating condition. Eczema is inflammation of the skin, and happens when sensitive skin reacts to irritants, resulting in redness and itch. It is very common, affecting 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults. Eczema most commonly occurs in the creases of elbows and knees, however can occur anywhere on the body from the scalp, over the chest, to the ankles and feet!
It is very common, affecting 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults.
If you suffer from eczema there are a number of things you can do to try and prevent or manage it;
- Keep skin moisturised
Keeping the protective skin barrier healthy is an important defence against eczema flares. Skin that is cracked, dry or damaged is more prone to triggers and inflammation. Try and avoid things that could dry the skin out (soaps and bubbly products), and moisturise the skin daily with a rich moisturiser safe for sensitive skin. Your pharmacist or doctor can help suggest one for you.
- Avoid triggers
Avoiding triggers is one of the best ways to try prevent an eczema flare. Triggers such as irritants, chemicals or even scratching can cause inflammation and damage the protective skin barrier resulting in more frequent eczema flares. It is often really challenging to know what are the common triggers for your skin. Common irritants include dry skin, grass, woollen carpets, pollens and dust, perfumes, soaps, beauty products cleaning chemicals. If you find you are recently getting worse eczema, try and eliminate different irritants to see if it makes a difference to your skin.
- Antihistamine tablets
During an eczema flare, the skin releases a substance called histamine which causes it to become itchy, red and inflamed. Antihistamine tablets help to block the release of histamine from the skin and reduce the symptoms of eczema. Antihistamines are available over the counter at the pharmacy, so chat to your doctor pharmacist about which one is best for you.
- Steroid Creams
Steroid creams are another way to help reduce inflammation, redness, and itchiness of an eczema flare. There are many different strengths and kinds of steroid creams, and which one is best for your skin will depend on the location and severity of the eczema. You do need a script for steroid creams, so if you suffer from eczema or dermatitis, talk to your doctor about this.
If you’ve been doing everything listed above and seen your regular doctor about your skin but are STILL suffering bad eczema flares, it might be time to see a specialist. A dermatologist can review you sort of dermatitis and make some suggestions about medications which may help to manage it.
For people who suffer very severe eczema, there are some medications which dermatologists can prescribed to help block or suppress the inflammation response in the skin. One of these treatments is an injection called Dupixent which is given every 2 weeks.
For more information about eczema and treatment, talk to your doctor.