Eczema is a skin condition that will currently affect around 10% to 30% of children in the UK, and 1% to 3% of adults (statistics from Allergy UK. Although it is not life-threatening, it is uncomfortable to live with at best, and at worst can become infected due to the fact that the patient is compelled to itch the infected area. Your skin flares up and it becomes dry, itchy and red. According to the National Eczema Society, it affects 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 5 children in the U.K.
How do you get it?
The causes are different for everyone, but in general, there are causes and triggers that will be ‘common’. Having Eczema can feel frustrating and can make you feel embarrassed to show certain parts of your body especially if you get it on your face. Sometimes if you move country your body may react to a new environment. Some studies say that water in certain areas can affect your skin.
We will help answer most of your questions about Eczema so you can try to help treat your flare-ups and help you manage it.
What initially causes it?
The exact cause of the problem has been extensively researched by dermatologists but is still unknown.
Regardless of how it is triggered, it is widely presumed by medical professionals that it is caused by over-stimulation of the immune system.
What triggers it?
The skin becoming too dry and tight can trigger a flare up. A good preventative measure if you suffer is to moisturize daily, with moisturizers that are non-perfumed and do not contain sulfates. Prevention is sometimes the best Eczema treatment.
Many things like hand wash, washing powder and certain fabrics can cause an Eczema flare up. Because the irritants are personal to each person if you suffer from Eczema or another form of skin condition you should note down what effects you.
Stress is one of the main factors that can cause an outbreak, and it can be an unfortunate symptom of depression and anxiety. If you feel you may have this and it is caused by stress, see your GP and see if you can control these underlying conditions, which will make your symptoms better.
How to spot it
It will form an as itchy skin or a dry rash on parts of the skin. If you get this, and you do not usually suffer, visit the GP immediately.
How can I control it?
As uncomfortable as it is, there are now many ways to control a flare-up with Eczema treatment. These come in the form of both treatments, like Eczema Creme, and things to avoid.
Things to avoid if you have a flare up
As it is an allergy, it is not surprising that foods that are the most common allergens are the ones to avoid. As itchy skin and Asthma are closely linked, you may find avoiding these foods may help both to strengthen your immune system:
There are many chemicals in products that can irritate your skin.
Some of these include:
- Biological detergents
- Fabric softeners
- Perfumed products
- Food colouring
- Artificial Sweeteners
Treatments for outbreaks
The treatments for itchy skin vary for age range, as some stronger treatments adults use can be too harsh on babies and young children.
Babies and young children
For babies and children, there are a few things you can do during the day and at bedtime.
- Avoid hot baths, these will irritate the skin
- Check the chemicals you are using
- Keep their skin moisturized
- Stop them scratching
In Adults, there are also a few different things you can do
- Get an OTC Eczema Creme
- Take an Oatmeal bath
- Take Herbal remedies for stress
New treatment trends and developments
Although the root cause isn’t known, the treatments are evolving constantly. There are two newer treatments for the condition that are being widely discussed.
Dermatologists are all in a unanimous decision that stopping it spreading will help the outbreak. Cotton gloves are a great idea to stop adults and children scratching in their sleep.
Recent research has shown that bamboo fabric has become one of the most breathable, non-invasive fabrics for skin conditions.
Sources: University of Dundee, National Eczema Society, Newcastle University