Eczema Skin Care

Eczema can be tough for an adult or child to cope with. It is estimated that about one in 10 people are affected by eczema at some point in their lives, so it’s worth investigating what treatments are out there.

What is eczema?

The word eczema comes from the Greek word that means to effervesce or bubble or boil over. 65% of people with eczema develop symptoms in the first year of their life. If both parents have eczema, there’s an 80% chance that their children will too. Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt, Kate Middleton and Catherine Zeta-Jones have all suffered from eczema at some point in their lives.

An allergic state is the fundamental profile of eczema. Of patients who suffer from asthma, hay fever and food allergies, approximately 70% will report eczema too. Immunoglobulin E antibodies are present in elevated levels in 80 per cent of eczema sufferers. These antibodies stimulate mast cells to release histamine, dissolving healthy skin cells and causing skin to appear infected or injured.

Common topical eczema treatments.

Most people with eczema will use both emollients and prescribed steroid creams depending on the condition of their skin.  To be effective it is important to know how to use these creams in conjunction with each other in order to prolong the periods between eczema flair ups and minimise the use of steroid creams.  

Emollients do not contain active ingredients that can pass through the skin, so they can be applied as often as necessary to moisturise the skin. For best results apply by smoothing the emollient cream along the line of hair growth. Emollients should be used continuously and regularly to help prevent flair ups developing and as a first treatment when a flair up occurs.  Some emollient creams can contain mineral oils, harsh preservatives or petrochemicals that may irritate the skin. Read the ingredients carefully and choose an emollient that will suit your skin type.  Suvex Soothe is a natural intensive emoillient made from 100% plant based ingredients.

Topical steroids may also be a necessary treatment when an eczema flair up occurs. Steroids should be applied sparingly as advised by your doctor and rubbed into the affected area. For best results apply the emollient cream first and wait for it to be absorbed, then apply the topical steroid. 

Age profile and eczema.

Different parts of the body are affected at different ages. Adults present with localised inflammation such as hands, ankles and the backs of feet. Children and adolescents tend to suffer in the folds of the skin where the limbs bend. Infants show weeping, inflamed patches with crusted plaques on the face, neck and groin. These lesions are at risk of infection with staphylococcus aureus. Physicians tend to treat this condition with antihistamines or steroids in severe cases, but prescription drugs risk side-effects. Interestingly, breastfeeding can play a role. Since the 1930s, scientists found that infant eczema sufferers have a deficiency of essential fatty acids, which in turn leads to an imbalance in the immune system destroying healthy skin cells and stimulating their rapid replacement. Another reason why breast-feeding can be better for babies.

It’s very important to find out what ‘triggers’ your dry, itchy and eczema skin conditions, consult a skin specialist and get tested in order to determine your individual triggers and do your best to avoid them.

Some common triggers are:

 >> Astringents and fragrances found is some soaps, shampoos, washing powders, cosmetics and room fragrances and fresheners. Select the fragrance free cosmetics and washing products

 >> Look out for Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (SLS) a known skin irritant found in many creams for “sensitive skin”.  Lanolin can also cause reactions in some eczema sufferers. Alcohol is another ingredient to avoid as it can dry the skin.

 >> It’s advised to avoid hot and humid or cold and dry conditions (air-conditioning and overheating) as well as materials that feel “itchy” like wool. Try to wear soft fabrics like cotton or silk which tend to be less irritating.

 >> Over exposure to nut oils can trigger a reaction in some eczema sufferers.

 >> Another factor to consider is your diet, particularly if all regular treatment and avoidance of trigger factors fails. Common foods that provoke allergies are cow’s milk, eggs, chicken and nuts. It is recommended that you should only exclude food from a child’s diet when in consultation with a doctor and dietician.

 >> Finally, do your best to keep your stress under control. Of course, that’s easier said than done when the eczema is part of the reason you’re so stressed, but it only exacerbates the problem. Learning to reduce stress may lessen the frequency and intensity of flare-ups.


We asked Skin Specialist Bernie Fahy for her advice on eczema and its treatments.

Natural treatments

Eczema can be treated successfully by natural means. Dietary advice would be to include a serving of cold-water fish each week. Dietary supplementation causes good fatty acids to arrive into the linings of skin cells, protecting them from the tissue-destructive cells of the immune system.

Supplements include evening primrose oil. This oil can naturally correct fatty acid profiles in adults, children and infants. Probiotics and prebiotics when taken daily can also have positive effects on eczema sufferers.

One tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily can be beneficial too, while vitamins A and E are recommended in a monitored programme. A clarifying supplement containing vitamins A, C and E is available. It helps reduce inflammation internally and is clinically proven to help the inner defences.

Herbal remedies also provide a natural option to help calm an eczema flare-up. Burdock and liquorice have proven effective and also have the benefit of being relatively inexpensive with no chemicals that would risk side effects.

Burdock is a source of inulin, which provides an immune defence against bacterial infection. Dandelion is also a source of inulin.

 

Lifestyle

Finally, I’d recommend Suvex Soothe® for this condition as it really reduces the itch which breaks the cycle of the skin being inflamed. It’s soothing ingredients will calm and replenish the skin, moisturising, cooling and reducing irritation very quickly. By following expert guidelines, we really can manage this condition and alleviate the discomfort for sufferers of all ages. So, don’t suffer in silence: show eczema the exit!

Try Suvex Soothe for yourself, order your free Suvex Soothe sample sachets today. 

 

THE SKIN SPECIALIST Bernie Fahy has over 17 years’ experience as a skin specialist. She works in Ballinrobe, Westport and Galway.

She can be contacted at (086) 222 0125 or at info@bernietheskinspecialist.com. For more information, visit www.bernietheskinspecialist.com

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