Helping you with… Eczema
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Helping you with… Eczema

Hello there my name is Doctor Andy
Knox, I’m one of the partners at Ash Trees Surgery in Carnforth which is part of the
Federation of practices working together across North Lancashire also part of the
Better Care Together program around Morecambe Bay where we’re really trying to provide
the best care we possibly can for our patients. One of things we see really
commonly as GP’s is a skin condition called Eczema. Eczema fits into a family of
illnesses alongside hay fever and asthma which is often when your body is over
reacting to things in the natural environment and causing you some
problems. What happens in Eczema is that your skin is made up of loads of
different layers and the top few layers are very oily protective layers now in
Eczema your skin reacts so that you lose the very oily protective layers
which then makes your skin more prone to getting irritated and very itchy there
are loads of things that you can do to take care of your own skin. Firstly find out and work out what it is
that your skin is reacting to there is somethings you might just simply need to
be avoiding lots of people for example react to the starch from potatoes when they are
peeling them and just by wearing rubber gloves when you peel potatoes can make a
huge difference. For some people it’s certain detergents or soaps or shower
gels, the things that irritate your skin need to be avoided otherwise they are going to
continue causing you a major problem for some people though there are food
intolerances that can also be found causing skin reactions just avoid those
food types and you’ll find your skin feels much better. One of the classic
things we see is a slight lactose intolerance and actually if you rest
your skin from milk products for a few months, it often gives your body the chance
to recover and stop being so reactive to it but when your skin is flared up and
it’s itchy and it’s sore and it’s dry there are some really
simple things that you can do yourself that means you don’t need to come and
waste your time having to find an appointment with a GP which can be hard
to find at the best of times. So the most important and vital part of caring for
your Eczema is finding an oily cream that suits you oily creams basically fit into two
categories you can either get ones that are slightly more water based the
advantage of them is they feel kind of nicer to put on to your skin and they soak in quite easily however they’re not quite as effective
as the other type which is a more oily based option. The water-based creams
would be creams like E 45 or 0 based Dipra base double base citamacragol. there are plenty of other choices as well and you can talk to your pharmacist
about them and actually play around with creams yourself there’s another similar
one which is called Avino which doesn’t have any petroleum chemicals in
some people find they react to the petroleum chemicals and say that can be
another alternative and again pharmacists will be able to advise you
about that. With more oily face creams what I mean by those are things like
Vaseline, emulsifying ointment, hydromol again there’s a plethora of other
examples that you can play around with but the most vital part in looking after
your Eczema is to get as much of the oily cream into your skin a day as you can, we
would say a minimum of twice actually four or six times a day putting an oily cream getting this
protective layer back onto the skin is absolutely vital, the second thing to
remember is when your skin is flared up and it’s angry it’s red and it’s itching
you like crazy get a steroid in there but make sure you
use a steroid cream properly, again over the counter you can buy hydrocortisone
you can get it again as a cream or ointment which ever one you prefer the
feel of its just as effective either way and you put it on and then put your
emulsifying cream on top or the other way around it doesn’t actually matter
but when you’re getting an itchy flare-up use a steroid cream on their
nice and quick but don’t just use a little dab and then a few days and put another dab on
otherwise you’ll be using it for a long time and that can thinl skin down most
professors of Dermatology would now say blast the skin with steroids for a few
weeks to really get on top of the Eczema and then you’ll find your skin is free
and clear for ages so when your skin flares up and it’s very itchy and sore, get some
hydrocortisone over the counter and then apply twice a day for two weeks then
once a day for two weeks and then every other day for two weeks you’ll find your
skin is much better however if your skin isn’t improving it might be that you
need a stronger steroid or it might be that it’s a bit infected when your
skin’s infected skin will often be broken open and it will often have signs
of yellow crusting that’s due to a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus
that needs an antibiotic cream or even sometimes in worst case scenario some
oral antibiotics and you will need advice from your nurse practitioner or
GP about that and will normally give you some kind of course of flu
cloxacillin or if you’re allergic to penicillin another antibiotic called
clarithromycin or something similar to that. So take care of your skin make sure that you are avoiding things
that flair it up, be careful with what you wash with make sure that your shower gel
or soap is not something that’s actually making your skin worst always go for a
more gentle soap or something that will not cause your skin to be sore, make sure
that you’re using a really good oily cream or ointment as regularly as
you can to get those protective layers back into the skin when it flares up hit
it early with a good steroid cream like hydrocortisone you can get over the
counter and blast it for a few weeks but if it’s not improving or it’s really a
itchy or it’s obviously infected that’s when you need further advice nurse
practitioner or a GP. We want your skin to be lovely and healthy and not irritating
for you to take good care of it and I hope your skin is getting better see

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