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Normal skin is more like lycra - it can be stretched in any direction without problem. Eczema skin is more like sandpaper as it is dry. When it moves it cracks, which leads to itching and inflammation.

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Treating all types of eczema with moisturisers is key
Normal skin is more like lycra - it can be stretched in any direction without problem. Eczema skin is more like sandpaper as it is dry. When it moves it cracks, which leads to itching and inflammation. These cracks are where bacteria can get a hold and cause infection. It is the moisturisers that are key to keeping the skin moist and supple so it does not dry out and crack.

Important: when your eczema is flared up whatever you put on your skin will sting. This stinging is NOT allergy. It settles after a few minutes...If you are treating your skin well after a day or so this stinging does not happen any more.

The most important rule with moisturisers:
Make time to use them! In this stressful world as a person who suffers with eczema needs to make time to treat their skin. 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening may be all that is needed - visit the moisturisers topic to learn more.

It is a good rule of thumb that if you have dry skin then you are too late putting on the last application of moisturiser.

Moisturisers - ointments or creams
As a rule ointments are like Vaseline and creams are white and both are used as moisturisers for skin conditions. It is down to the individual which they prefer, but sufferers of skin conditions are more likely to use a topical treatment that they like than one that they do not like.

Traditionally dermatologists believe that ointments are better moisturisers than creams though there is no evidence for this. Things to keep in mind when deciding between the two are:

  • Ointments do not soak in as creams do and can damage clothes

  • Ointments prevent sweating and can make a child feel hot after application

  • Ointments do not have the initial cooling action that creams do - it is the evaporation of the water in creams that causes this.

  • Some people prefer ointments to creams and so should be encouraged to use them

  • You need the same amount of ointment to cover the skin as you do a cream [1]

On the whole ointments are disgusting to use so why would anyone use them in the right amount...creams are cooling and "melt" into the skin. when you cool itchy skin it stops itching so much.

Creams also wash out of clothes.

Applying moisturiser to the face
One way of applying moisturisers to the face is by spreading the moisturiser on the fingers and then smear on the face as if you are washing. Just cover the face and leave creams to soak in over 30 minutes. This can be done in the morning before going to work or in the evening when there is time.















Applying to the body
Smear on the moisturiser liberally and then put on loose clothing. This takes 5 minutes and then normal everyday activities can be undertaken whilst the moisturisers soak in (in the case of creams). Clothes can be changed after this 30 minutes to normal office clothing if needed without ruining shirts, blouses or delicate clothes. This is not the case with ointments which do not soak in as much. With applying liberal amounts of moisturiser you can be reassured that you know that sufficient has been applied:











Bath oils
Bathing can reduce the dry scales and any crusts from the skin. However, water by itself is drying as it can take oils out of the skin. If a bath oil is used for bathing this can help to moisturise the skin. Use according to manufacturers instructions. Do not put more than is necessary in as sometimes they can irritate - particularly if they have an antiseptic in.

Never use soaps to bathe - soap substitutes can be used instead
After bathing pat the skin dry. Moisturisers can be applied afterwards to keep more moisture in the skin.

[1] Schlagel CA, Sanborn EC. The weights of topical preparations required for total and partial body inunction. J invest Dermatol 1964; 42:253- 256

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