What is eczema?
Eczema is a non-contagious chronic itchy skin condition. The skin may be inflamed and red. Lesions can appear dry at times but also often weepy, encrusted and scaly. There is no ‘cure’ yet for eczema but it can often be effectively managed with abstinence from trigger foods and substances.
What causes eczema?
People who suffer from eczema have problems retaining the moisture in their skin. The dryness can make the skin sensitive and more likely to react to triggers which cause inflammation. It is genetic and children who have one or both parents with atopic eczema are more likely to develop it themselves.
What age is eczema most common?
Eczema is very common in young children. Up to one in five children will suffer from it. Eczema can often start in the first six months of life and may last into childhood, adolescence and sometimes adulthood. One in twelve adults has eczema.
What can trigger eczema flare-ups?
Eczema can be triggered by a number of factors. For instance, many sufferers link it to stress. It is also often worse in the winter months (when the air is dry and skin is exposed to the fluctuation of cold wind chill temperatures outdoors, and dry central heating inside). It can also be worsened by other factors such as topical exposure to irritating substances (i.e. laundry detergents, topical irritants, air fresheners, fabrics such as wool) or allergic triggers (i.e. diet, pet hair, dust mites, carpets). In young infants, saliva from drooling may cause additional irritation, particularly to the area around the mouth, cheeks, chin and neck. Certain foods can also trigger eczema (see below- 'Identify any food triggers').
What cream do you recommend for those who suffer from bad patches of dry, sensitive skin or eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis?
Hope's Relief Intensive Dry Skin Rescue Cream is a best-seller; this is intended for severe patches of dry and irritated skin and those prone to eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. Packed with natural active ingredients including Hospital Grade Organic Manuka Honey UMF 10+, Gotu Kola, Aloe Vera, Organic Calendula and Licorice Root to soothe and repair damaged skin, a pilot study shows that 93% of people show significant improvement.
What other products do you have in the range?
We also have the Hope's Relief Moisturising Lotion; this is for a more liberal all-over body use and works well alongside the intensive cream for less severe areas. We have a Shampoo and Conditioner for itchy, dry scalps; this can also be used on seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff and cradle cap in babies. We also have a Soap-Free Cleansing Bar, Goat's Milk Body Wash and Soap suitable for dry and irritated skin. These help clean without irritation, dryness and stripping of the body’s natural oils.
What are your top tips for helping to prevent eczema in infants, children and adults?
- Choose the best natural products to use on your skin. Hope’s Relief is Australia’s number one natural skincare range for eczema, psoriasis and dry itchy skin conditions. Developed over the last 35 years the range is 100% safe, even for new-born infants and children of all ages. It is free from sodium laurel sulphates, parabens, coal tar, artificial colours and fragrances and contains no mineral oils or petrochemicals.
- Don’t over wash and avoid using too much detergent. Some experts suggest it is better to bath only once or twice a week instead of every day and ‘top and tail’ the rest of the time, (i.e. clean bottoms, faces and hands as needed). Use plain warm water and a small amount of something like Hope's Relief Soap-Free Cleansing Bar if needed.
- If you are using baby wipes – be warned! Look at the packaging of your wipes and you may find that many contain potentially harmful ingredients i.e. alcohol and perfume. If you have to use them pick those that are non-chlorine bleached, unscented and alcohol-free offering a more natural alternative or simply use a cotton wash cloth and soap-free cleansing bar.
- Check out your washing powder. Washing powders should be non-biological. Avoid fabric softeners (and anything strongly perfumed). Pick natural wherever possible and rinse well. Most washing powders are designed to break down fats which means they may also have this action if put into contact with the skin. This may lead to skin irritation.
- Pick natural fabrics such as cotton clothing and bedding. Cotton helps keep the skin cool and allows it to breathe, whereas synthetic fabrics and wool can irritate.
- Try to limit scratching. Easier said than done, especially in children and at night when this can sometimes get worse. Scratching damages the skin further resulting in exacerbation and further skin trauma. The hands are one of the worst carriers of bacteria so touching and scratching can introduce bacteria into vulnerable skin! Using an organic cotton babygrow and hand mittens or a cotton ‘onesie’ for older children, as well as keeping nails clean and short may be useful.
- Identify any food triggers In about 10% of cases, food is the main trigger of eczema in children, yet food may be one of the causes or exacerbating factors in about 30% of children with eczema. Even those who are affected by diet will still need to have a good skincare routine to help heal the eczema and stop it getting worse with an itch-scratch-itch cycle. Common food triggers to look out for include: dairy - cow’s milk, cheese, eggs, soya, wheat, fish, nuts. Solanceae or deadly nightshade family - potatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. I have often found orange juice can also make skin conditions worse! N.B. it is important for children to have a healthy balanced diet.If a food is suspected, contact your doctor or seek professional advice before beginning an elimination diet.
For a limited time only, save 20% on the Hope's Relief range at The Healthy House! The Hope’s Relief range includes: Intensive Dry Skin Rescue Cream, Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap-Free Cleansing Bar, Moisturising Lotion, Goat's Milk Body Wash and Goat's Milk Soap.