As a sufferer of eczema throughout most of my childhood, I remember only too well the dry, red, scaley, itchy as hell skin and all of the gunky creams and ointments that go with it. I think I spent most of my childhood walking around like a petroleum smelling, greasy Slick Mick. It was only when my free child prescriptions ran out that I thought there is no way I’m paying £8 a pop for a tub of paraffin based lard. It had never really given me any real relief anyway and thanks to steroids my skin had become paper thin. Thanks, but no thanks.
Anyhoo…. Fast forward 20 years or so and my poor baby boy ‘Baby O’ started showing the same signs at around 3 months old. As if the nights could be anymore sleepless. I rang the GP and what did we get prescribed, DIPROBASE! OMG! Has the world of eczema treatments seriously not come any further in all this time? I mean I get it, the skin needs a barrier and Paraffin will do that, but thats just about all it will do. It will act as an ‘occlusive’ agent, kind of like wrapping a load of cling film around your body, moisture can’t escape but neither can sweat or germs. Lovely! It’s a cheap ingredient and it doesn’t actually provide the skin with any extra essential hydration or moisture, so surely shouldn’t be the sole ingredient. Anyway despite my now better knowledge of the skin, as a cautious new mum I decided to follow the doctors advice. We tried everything. Diprobase, Zeroderm, Zerobase, Oilatum, Dermol 500, Dermol 600, Cetraben, E45, Aveeno and then of course the steroids. Add to that a ton of shop bought products and my bathroom was like a blooming chemist. Oh and if one more person asked me ‘Have you tried Coconut oil?’ god help me. I may have thrown a jar at their head. After months of trying different things, nothing was making much of a difference. Temporary relief, yes but no real improvement to how the skin was actually behaving. Whilst I can’t thank the eczema nurses enough for all of their care and advice, It was all just so typical of medicine today. We were treating symptoms and not cause. I’m no scientist but c’mon clever eczema boffins is this the best we’ve got?
We now know an eczema skin is deficient in lipids, ceremides and fatty acids. We know there is a strong link between gut health and the bodies inflammatory response and we know that eczema can be caused by a faulty gene that prevents Filaggrin (a skin bonding protein) from forming properly, there are some studies into how that can be rectified and how we can actually get the body to produce more Filaggrin. So If we know all of this then how come we don’t have access to more advanced treatment? I can only think that its a lack of research or a lack of funding to enable it. So, considering we are approaching national eczema awareness week 17th-22nd of September, Ive added a link at the bottom of this page to donate.
Since coming of prescription creams Baby O and I have discovered some great products. It’s important however to remember that all skins are different and what works for one may not work for another. It’s a case of trial and error, and believe me I have trialled and I have definitely error -ed! Here are my top picks and tips for eczema skin.
Don’t over wash the skin and don’t use foamy soaps (they contain drying sulphates)
Keep water luke warm, not too hot.
Don’t use perfumed products.
Keep surroundings dust and pet hair free.
Wet wrap the skin with silk bandages (see my instagram for a how to)
Get an allergy test to see if there is an underlying cause.
Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise – Here are my favourites.
Dermalogica Calm Water Gel. Best for face and even eyes as it contains no Paraffins or other comedogenic ingredients.
La – Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ Best all over body moisturiser.
La – Roche Cicaplast Baume B5. Best for open, sore or broken skin.
Cere-ve Moisturising cream.
And Evening Primrose oil (my favourite of all the vegetable oils for dry skin)
Donation link –