Eczema can really make your life miserable and it is a condition that affects many people. It can be hereditary, often associated with asthma and hay fever.

If you suffer from eczema, does this resonate with you?

  • A red rash
  • Itchiness
  • Scaling of the skin
  • Blisters
  • Weeping or cracked skin

You may not have all these signs but it is possible to manage the condition. It’s not contagious but your skin will always be prone to sensitivities and flare-ups which will always need care.

You need to know which type of eczema you have in order to control it.

a) Atopical eczema  – Usually hereditary , may also suffer from asthma and hay fever and presents in the skin creases, inside the elbow , at the backs of knees or around the wrists. Often, this is the type that affects children and they find the itching unbearable. They may be sensitive to allergens in the environment which are harmless to others.

b) Seborrhoeic eczema – Usually affects young adults and may present on the scalp like dandruff but it can spread to the face, ears and chest. This type is associated with infections caused by yeasts.

c) Discoid eczema – This tends to occur only in adults and is coin shaped.

d) Contact dermatitis –  The irritating rash is caused by an allergy to eg cosmetics, detergents, soaps, rubber or latex, yeast or nickel.

These are just a few examples but dermatitis can also be caused by food allergies to milk products or wheat. There might also be deficiencies vitamins and minerals.

What can be done to help?

Often when the condition is severe , a topical steroid cream will be prescribed which will help when you  are desperate but it’s not ideal as a long term solution.

IS THERE A NATURAL WAY TO HELP THE SYMPTOMS?

  1. Sodium Bicarbonate – this can reduce the acidity in your body by adding a few tablespoons to your bath.
  2. Avoid clothes made of synthetic fibres, creams containing paraffin oil or perfumed washing powders.
  3. If you find that certain skincare products or cosmetics cause an allergic reaction , refrain from using it immediately.  The common causes of a reaction could be perfumes or certain preservatives. Try hypoallergenic cosmetics but these could still cause a reaction so it’s always better to do a patch test on the inside of your forearm. It’s better to use unfragranced products for your skin if you have eczema.

GENERAL TIPS FOR CHILDREN THAT HAVE ECZEMA

This is a real worry for mums with young children as it can affect the whole family and we don’t like to see the suffering.

  1. Only use warm water to bathe your child (not  hot) and only use soap or body wash which is fragrance free.
  2. The skin is generally very dry and cracked and the child will scratch but this is what will cause infections (this is what we are trying to avoid).
  3. A body moisturiser is vital, preferably organic and fragrance free and needs to be applied twice daily.
  4. Try to keep your child cool because heat generally will set off the itching. Cotton bedding is best.
  5. Keep their finger nails short.
  6. Avoid washing detergent and conditioner which is perfumed. Go for detergents for sensitive skin which are not biological.
  7. It is important that a child’s bowels work frequently to eliminate toxins.

If a child has severe eczema , you will get medical advice and the child may need steroid treatment.

When my nephew was 3 years old , his mother was desperate with his eczema. I made some topical cream which she found very useful in keeping his skin in good condition and well moisturised after the acute stage had passed.

It contained Shea butter, zinc oxide, borage oil, Aloe vera as well as Vitamin A and E. This is a safe and natural product which is suitable for children, as well as adults.

A-Vitamin Cream is available at www.mellowskincare.co.uk