Eczema

Eczema

Consultant-led dermatology care to keep your skin looking and feeling great

Eczema is a common condition that can make the skin dry, red, itchy and irritated. People of any age can develop eczema but it is more common in childhood, with as many as one in five children affected. Eczema can be uncomfortable and unsightly. If you or your child are scratching and suffering, the skin specialists at London Medical can help ease the itching and prevent eczema flare-ups.

London Medical offers a consultant-led Dermatology Clinic, dedicated to providing expert skin treatment in a professional, comfortable and caring environment. The clinic offers a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment service and provides all relevant blood, skin and allergy testing. If your skin is affecting your health, wellbeing and quality of life, the experts at London Medical can help soothe your symptoms.

What is eczema?

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Eczema is a skin condition that causes dry skin, inflammation and itching. It is also known as atopic dermatitis because vulnerability to eczema or an ‘atopic tendency’ tends to run in some families. If a parent has eczema, asthma or hay fever, any children are more vulnerable to these conditions too.

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What does eczema look like?

Eczema causes a red, itchy rash and areas of rough, dry and flaky skin. The rash pattern can vary depending on age. Young babies typically have eczema on the face, scalp and body whereas older children develop the characteristic rash in the folds of skin on the back of the knees and inside the elbows. The skin may also show scratch marks and thickening, or lichenification, from chronic itching.

During a flare-up of eczema, the skin can become red, sore and inflamed. There may be blisters and the skin can weep fluid. Broken skin is at risk of infection, which can result in increased redness, pustules or yellow crusting. In which case, an urgent medical assessment is required to prevent potentially serious complications.

If you are struggling to control your child’s eczema, or your skin is causing problems the dermatology consultants at London Medical can offer expert assessment, care and treatment.

When to see your doctor for eczema

The specialists at London Medical can help anyone living with eczema to get better control of their skin and reduce flare-ups.

It is particularly important to get medical help if the rash is disturbing sleep, not responding to treatment or the skin is becoming thickened. If the skin is weepy, blistered, there’s pus, not responding to current treatment or increased redness and inflammation, there could be an infection that needs urgent treatment.

Eczema treatment at London Medical

The consultant dermatologists at London Medical will take a careful medical history, thoroughly assess your skin, and consider the effect the symptoms are having on your life. They may arrange for investigations including allergy and patch testing to identify any triggers. They will then tailor a comprehensive skincare programme to treat the acute eczema, break the frustrating scratch-itch cycle and prevent flare-ups in the future. This can include:

Avoiding triggers: Atopic eczema can be linked to allergy and sensitisation to certain foods and other factors including dairy, eggs, house dust mite, pets and pollen. Other forms of eczema such as allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis can be triggered by substances like latex, metals and chemicals. The dermatologists can identify triggers and help you develop strategies to minimise contact.

Emollients: Emollients are creams, lotions and ointments that help keep the skin soft, smooth and supple. The topical treatments moisturise the skin and form a protective layer over the surface, trapping in water. Emollients can help restore the skin’s natural barrier, which is impaired in eczema, so that there is a reduced risk of irritants and infections getting through. The experienced dermatologists at London Medical will prescribe the right emollients for your needs, to decrease itching and prevent flare-ups.

Soap substitutes: Soap can strip the skin of natural oils and many bathing products contain chemicals, colours and fragrances that can irritate and sensitise the skin. If you have eczema you should use an emollient instead of soap or shower gel, even when your skin is clear. They don’t lather but effectively clean the skin as well as moisturising it.

Topical steroids: If the skin is thickened, blistered or weepy your consultant dermatologist may prescribe steroid ointments, creams, tapes or plasters to control the inflammation. The specialists at London Medical have extensive experience in the safe use of topical steroid preparations, they will prescribe the product with the right potency for your skin. The frequency of application and length of usage will depend on your skin, the steroid you are using and the part of the body affected. Your consultant will take time to answer all your questions and concerns and the specialist staff at the clinic will also offer expert support and guidance.

Topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs): The dermatology specialists at London Medical rapidly respond to skin research and offer new evidence-based treatments at an early stage. TCIs are a topical alternative to steroids. They reduce inflammation in the upper layers of skin and can be used to treat eczema flare-ups in adults and children over the age of two.

For most people with eczema, their symptoms are controlled with emollients and intermittent steroid treatments. However, London Medical also offers further treatments for people with severe inflammation that hasn’t responded to treatment. This can include specialist phototherapy, immunosuppressant medication and skin bandages. The specialists will talk you through the options and explain the relative benefits and risks of each treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Swimming is a common trigger for eczema, but the good news is that you can protect her skin. Try applying an emollient immediately before swimming, it will lock in the moisture and help reduce the drying effects of pool chemicals. She should also shower immediately after her dip to rinse off the pool water, then reapply emollient on to damp skin. If you’re struggling, make an appointment with the specialists at London Medical for further advice.

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