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Twenty Facts About Eczema


Recent evidence from the US has suggested that bathing babies with eczema daily  is okay as long as a moisturising emollient cream is applied generously afterwards. It had been said that frequent washing of skin can be drying and therefore washing infrequently would be better.

Although there is still research to be done in this area, it was concluded that daily washing or alternate day washing was fine but that bubble baths and soap could be drying to the skin particularly for eczema sufferers.

Eczema is a medical condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed with blisters which cause itching and bleeding. It affects about 1 in 5 children in the UK. Recommended treatments include use of emollients, corticosteroids and self care techniques such as reducing scratching. 

Here are twenty facts about eczema:

  1. The word ‘eczema’ comes from the Greek word ‘to boil’. It is used to describe red, dry, itchy skin which can sometimes become weeping, blistered, crusted, scaling and thickened.
  2. The words 'eczema' and 'dermatitis' mean the same thing, and thus 'atopic eczema' is the same as 'atopic dermatitis'.
  3. Atopic eczema (as well as asthma and hay fever) tends to run in families. If one or both parents have eczema, asthma or hay fever, it is more likely that their children will develop them too.
  4. Approximately one third of children with eczema will also develop asthma and/or hay fever.
  5. Atopic eczema affects both males and females equally.
  6. There is some evidence that atopic eczema may be more common in people from African-Caribbean backgrounds.
  7. Eczema is thought to be caused by a defect in the skin barrier that makes it more susceptible to inflammation and allows allergens and bacteria to make contact with the immune system.
  8. Foods can be triggers for eczema especially in infants but the foods are not the primary cause of the eczema
  9. Many factors in a person’s environment can make eczema worse; these include heat, dust, wool, pets and irritants such as soap and detergents.
  10. Stress is associated with flares of atopic eczema, but it is not fully understood.
  11. Eczema cannot be cured but there are many ways to control it.
  12. Atopic eczema usually starts in the first months of life but it may also develop for the first time in adulthood. The main symptom is itch. Scratching in response to itch may cause many of the changes seen on the skin. Itch can be severe enough to interfere with sleep, causing tiredness and irritability.
  13. Most children with atopic eczema improve as they get older (60% clear by their teens). However, many continue to have dry skin and need to continue to avoid irritants such as soaps or bubble baths.
  14. Atopic eczema may be troublesome for people in certain jobs that involve contact with irritant materials, such as catering, hairdressing, cleaning or healthcare work.
  15. Although exclusive breast feeding has been advocated for the prevention of eczema in susceptible infants, there is no evidence that this is effective.
  16. There is also no definite evidence that organic dairy products help to reduce the risk of eczema, or that maternal fish oil consumption during pregnancy helps to prevent eczema in childhood.
  17. ‘Complete emollient therapy’ is the mainstay of treatment for all patients with eczema as the most important part of their treatment - this means regular application of a moisturiser, washing with a moisturiser instead of soap (known as a soap substitute), and use of a moisturising bath oil.
  18. Aqueous cream was originally developed as a soap substitute. It is also often used as a moisturiser but recent evidence has highlighted that it can irritate the skin and make eczema worse. For this reason aqueous cream is no longer recommended for use as a moisturiser.
  19. Topical immunosuppressants (calcineurin inhibitors) such as tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream, may be used when eczema is not responding to topical steroids or in skin sites which are more susceptible to the side effects of steroids such as the face, eyelids and armpits and groin.
  20. Antihistamines are useful in the treatment of eczema. They have no effect on the inflammation of eczema and are helpful largely as a result of their sedating effects.

If you have eczema and are looking for a safe, effective method to treat it, call Madame Skin today (0207 205 4305) to find out which ENVIRON product is suitable for you or go to the website (

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