Good daily care is needed to manage eczema

Dry skin conditions, such as eczema, can be very distressing. It is a non-infectious, recurring inflammatory skin disease where the skin becomes dry, itchy or scaly, red and may weep, bleed or crust over. Bacteria or viruses may infect it also.

While eczema cannot be cured it can be managed. Emollients (medical term for moisturisers ) are different from cosmetic moisturisers as they tend to be unperfumed and lack anti-ageing ingredients. They keep the skin moist, flexible preventing cracks, less itchy and more comfortable.

There are three types: lotions, creams and ointments: applied directly to the skin. Bath oils: added to the bath water or directly to skin in the shower. Soap substitutes: used instead of soap to clean the skin.

Where the skin is very dry a combination of all three types help give the best hydration and bring the skin back to normal. Emollient creams /ointments need to be used liberally and often in the direction of hair growth. Lotions are cooling and useful for hairy areas for quick absorption. Bath oils should be added to warm, not hot, water to clean and hydrate the skin. Soak for six to 10 minutes, pat dry and apply emollient. Emollient soap substitutes (aqueous cream ) are excellent to wash with as they are formulated to work as a soap substitute, but can be an irritant if left on the skin.

Always try new emollients on a small patch of unaffected skin to test for a reaction.

To buy these emollients call into Rowlands Pharmacy, Main Street, Castlebar. Tel: 094 902 6427.


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