More than six million people in the UK suffer with eczema, with one in five children and one in 12 adults diagnosed with the irritating skin condition.
Ahead of National Eczema Week (September 17-25), sensitive laundry brand Surcare and Harley Street Dermatologist Dr Friedmann have teamed up with interiors expert Katie Glenn from Julian Charles to bring sufferers their advice on tackling eczema in the home and keeping skin allergies in check.
Commenting, Dr Friedman said: “Living with a skin allergy can be difficult, especially when there are so many irritants which can exacerbate symptoms, in everyday household items, such as laundry products and cosmetics.”
“Eczema can be an absolute nightmare for sufferers and often feels like a losing battle,” continued Julian Charles’ Katie Glenn.
“But the home is a great place to start and so much can be done, particularly in the bedroom, to combat allergy triggers.”
Here are Dr Friedmann and Katie Glenn’s five top tips for easing the suffering of eczema:
1. Eat well:
“The most common myth I encounter is that what you eat is solely responsible for eczema,” says Dr Friedmann, “Although food allergy can sometimes play a role in the occurrence of eczema, this is not usually the sole reason for eczema appearing.
“I often have patients that come into my clinic who have cut out everything from their diet in an effort to improve their eczema. Sometimes people have tried cutting down to eating just bread and drinking water and still have eczema. Cutting essential food groups out of the diet can just make you more unwell.
“It is best to have a healthy, balanced diet as this will have a positive effect on the immune system.
2. Prepare your bedroom:
“Dust mite allergies are one of the most common triggers for eczema. They thrive in dark, humid areas where, rather unappetisingly, they have a constant supply of food in the form of dead skin,” says Katie Glenn.
“Hypoallergenic duvets and pillows are naturally allergen resistant, so going to sleep armed with this kind of bedding is a great place to start.
“It’s also vital to regularly wash your bedding. Washing at 60 degrees celsius is ideal for killing off pesky dust mites. The double whammy of using a gentle non-biological washing powder will mean your symptoms won’t be exacerbated by irritants such as enzymes, dyes and perfumes.”
3. Choose natural, breathable fabrics:
Wearing breathable fabrics is very important; they allow the air to flow better and protect your skin against drying out and flaring up.
Eczema sufferers can also often benefit from choosing pure cotton duvet covers and pillow cases. It’s also important to avoid anything that has been chemically treated. This includes bedding filled with latex chips and polyether foam and well as anything that is ‘professional dry clean only’.
4. Take your medication correctly:
Steroids are a valuable tool in the treatment or control of eczema, particularly during a flare-up. They can reduce redness and inflammation and make the skin less itchy and sore, giving it a chance to heal.
However, Dr Friedmann says some people often misuse their steroid prescriptions, which is where problems can occur. He says, “Problems arise when steroids are misused. If instructions for the treatment are followed correctly, the skin can recover properly and the eczema will be much easier to manage.”
5. Look after yourself:
While eczema itself can be very stressful for the sufferer, Dr Friedmann urges people with the condition to look after themselves.
He says; “It is a known fact that stress and exhaustion lower the immune system and make most rashes worse so it is advisable to get plenty of sleep and de-stress when possible.”
“I also recommend regularly moisturising to retain the skin’s moisture, avoid irritants such as soap, wipes and fragrances and wash with creams such as aqueous cream or Dermol.”
For more information on the Surcare range, visit surcare.co.uk, connect on social media @SurcareUK or at facebook.com/surcare
For more information on Julian Charles’ range of hypoallergenic bedding, visit Julian Charles