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Conditions

Eczema

Eczema

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Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become reddened, dry and cracked. Atopic Eczema accounts for around 30% of skin complaints seen by GPs, and it is more common amongst children. The causes of eczema are not totally understood, but there are a number of factors that can worsen its condition, or contribute to a flare up. These include dust mites, pets and even foods like dairy produce, nuts or eggs. Eczema can also be caused by hormonal changes, and sometimes by stress and vigorous exercise. The treatment of eczema normally consists of a variety of self-help treatments, but the most important thing is for sufferers to avoid scratching the skin (easier said than done as it becomes extremely itchy)! The key treatment involves moisturising the skin to keep it supple and to prevent it becoming irritated and cracked. In addition, GPs will normally look at a sufferer’s diet, and may prescribe complimentary therapies such as aromatherapy.

Venous eczema, also known as varicose and gravitational eczema, is an irritating skin condition that only affects the legs. Like all other forms of eczema it causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy and flaky. This type of eczema is caused by poor circulation. The pressure put on the skin by the fluid build up damages it, causing the irritation. Poor circulation is often caused by age, weight or lifestyle choices such as smoking. Women are more vulnerable than men to this particular eczema, as they are more susceptible to varicose veins which can lead to this condition. Like all other types of eczema, it is a chronic condition that cannot be cured but can be managed. Eczema is treated with creams, ointments and lotions. With venous eczema the doctor may also look at treating the underlying problem with the circulation to help try and prevent it from flaring up again.

If your child is suffering from eczema, read our condition guide especially for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids website.

Comments and Questions

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Hi I was wondering if one of the doctors could help my husband with his skin condition he has a very very itchy rash all over his body which is making his life so unbearable. He has been to hospital, used creams, wrapped regularly in all the bandages etc but it doesn't get any better. Please please can you help as this occurred on his skin about 14 years ago and he had great skin before that with no skin condition and this just started and progressed all over his body with no ease at all.





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Hi , my esczma has recently spread and is now all over my body including my chest and below . Is this normal as I have had esczma for 11 years now ?





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Ive had it on my both legs from knee's down but its worse in cold weather as it makes them Look xteamly horrible and tend to look bruised From it, ive tried different oilments to go in bath,creams,e45 ive tried all sorts. I even asked gp to refer me to a skin spelicalist and he and basically got told to get lost. Im in desperate need they dont look so bad in boiling hot weather but very white and pale





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I have the same isue for 4 years , there were just few places that ich a lot then they became bigger scratches and the doctor injected me with many many needles to reduce the size and it does work but not always and it spreads more and more so in 1 year from 2 scratches to 10 of them now and they getting worse. The wierd thing is they borderd from the knee down to foot nothing beyond that. I believe i have many reasons. Stress, food, smooking, not moving a lot or not training daily

I've had eczema since childhood, but it used to only be mild and controlable. The past three years, however, I've developed it mainly on my face and neck and its quite severe. I've tried all sorts of creams and lotions etc and am currently using protopic on it but I just can't seem to get it under control. I also find that if I'm stressed or have been drinking I will literally scratch my face off whilst I'm sleeping, resulting in days of not wanting to leave the house as I look like a zombie! It's really starting to get me down, I feel embarrassed when I go outside as people look at me like i'm weird and even when my skin isn't too bad I find when I'm trying to socialise I'm constantly checking if I'm starting to flare up. I'm at the point now where I just want to hide away and not see anyone, just going to work is embarrassing enough!





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My husband has had eczema all his life (head to toe) over the last 10 months it has become unmanageable. He is in constant pain, his skin is constantly dry and tight (no matter how much cream he puts on), it's effecting his ability to sleep, work and socialise. He has recently been to a consultant who has put him on azathioprine to try to get things under control. We realise that this won't be a quick fix, but his skin is still so out of control. I just wonder if there was any advice on how to make him more comfortable in the mean time and/or has anyone been through the the same sort of thing?





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Hi there - I have severe eczema and have recently been hospitalised for one week. I have also tried immunosuppressants and acupuncture without success. I would recommend you use wet wraps twice a day (as done in hospital) and ensure you see a dermatologist who has admitting rights to a hospital. Sometimes being in hospital is the best thing and can also give your husband some reprieve and time away from outdoor allergens. To prepare wet wraps I soak tight pjs in qv oil, put steroids on the affected areas, a generous amount of dermeze all over the body and then wear the wet pjs for about 30mins. This helps keep the skin moisturised. Although a temporary solution, my advise is not be scared of oral steroids and use them properly (shorter doses can mean the skin doesn't heAl however your husband still goes through withdrawal symptoms). I continue to search for a cure however , much more research is needed for this poorly understood, often disabling disease. Finally, get a gp that listens and understands the psychological impact of the disease - having a dr that appreciates the impact of the disease and is willing to push for referrals and hospital beds can make all the difference. I wish your husband the best of luck

Hello, my eczema flared up again when I was 17 I am now 21 I've had a constant battle with it since then. GPs keep Prescribing me steroid creams and thing such as Oilatum and Dermol500 but nothing is working. It has caused me anxiety snd depression I find it hard to be in public at times. Is there anything that can be done? Doctors don't seem to care about the situation





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i have it all over my body. it used to be just ampits and behind knee but it keeps spreading. my major irritant is rain and cold water, although dr are other like drugs, make up, cosmetics, and the hamathan period (Nigeria ). it is really getting me down as ppl just think I'm disgusting and dirty.





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Hi, I've experience this symptom recently (which i believe to be eczema) on and ariound my lips area. It started as small red looking skin under lips, burn sensation, itch and flaky. After put on cream(Eczema cream) for around a week or two, it calmed down around 2 days then reappear again. The cycle continue since January 2015 till now and it spread out bigger. Looking forward to your response and advice. Many Thanks. Blessings. Note: i never lick lips and always moisturise with Lip Balm or Pawpaw cream





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My eczema has been on and off since I was born, and now, at 18, it's all of a sudden came back so badly it's making me feel seriously down. My legs are red and crack and bleed, so whenever I wake up in the morning my bedcovers are covered in blood. I moisture, use cream, do whatever the doctors say, and when I tell them it hasn't helped, they don't seem to care. Why is it so bad now? Nothing about my lifestyle has changed, and it's really getting too much to bare.





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I've suffered from eczema on my eyelids. My flare ups haven't been as frequent here as other places but im only 24 and noticed my left eyelid has started to droop/sag. The skin just seems looser now. I've heard recently that steroid cream can thin skin and im freaking out that I've done irreversible damage as I've been prescribed this for my eyelids before. Could I be right? It's really effecting my self esteem as it's changed my look significantly





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