Looking for ways to ease the itch of childhood eczema

Applying creams can relieve the symptoms
Applying creams can relieve the symptoms

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As every parent knows, raising a child brings plenty of challenges – and when that child has eczema, things just get tougher.

The difficulties for parents of the two million UK children with the itchy skin condition aren’t just because they have to see their child suffer.

New research from Lloyds pharmacy has revealed that more than half of mums of children with eczema worry their child’s condition is holding them back and they’re missing out on activities.

Consultant dermatologist Dr Bav Shergill, of the British Association of Dermatologists, says: ‘Eczema can be very distressing both because of its visual appearance, as it can look very red and sore, and the discomfort and disruption it causes.’

Triggers can include environmental factors such as heat, dust and contact with irritants like soap or detergents, bacterial infections and stress.

Parents of sufferers should see their doctor and look at products used on the skin but another port of call could be a 
nutritional therapist.

Lee-on-the-Solent therapist Rachel Jessey says food allergies could be a possible contributing factor to skin conditions.

‘From a nutritional therapist’s point of view, I believe anything related to the skin is telling us something is going on deeper in the body,’ she says.

Allergy testing is available from the NHS but doctors often prescribe skin creams and Rachel, who runs consultancy BeNourished and also works from Stubbington Natural Health Clinic, says it can be useful to look at diet.

‘I’m not saying allergies and food intolerances are the cause but some foods can be an extra irritant and people can see big improvements when they’re removed from the diet.’

She says parents can then investigate further with allergy testing and stresses that her treatment is in conjunction that of medical practitioners.

Dr Shergill says a good moisturising regime is the number one treatment.

A further treatment is topical corticosteroids, and Shergill explains: ‘Many people think these cause damage to the skin. While it’s true that they can thin the skin if the wrong one is used in the wrong place for too long, they are very safe when used properly.’