Magazine: Sussex consultant looks at eczema treatment

Eczema affects over 6 million people in the UK, and new research reveals that many people feel unattractive and embarrassed to bare their skin in the summer. This common skin condition can have negative impact on the lives of millions of Brits every day, despite being manageable

Dr Justine Hextall
Dr Justine Hextall

The research, commissioned and fully funded by MSD, surveyed 500 people with eczema, and it found that less than one in five people (19%) are using emollient therapy three to four times a day as recommended, meaning people with eczema may not be managing their condition as best they could and may be susceptible to more frequent flare-ups.

It also showed that 70% of the people surveyed can sometimes feel unattractive, 60% can feel self-conscious at work, 49% can feel depressed and over half (56%) avoid wearing the clothes they would like to because of their eczema. Additionally, some people admitted to avoiding everyday activities such as bathing children (24%) and doing the washing up (50%) because they could trigger a flare up.

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Sussex based Dr Justine Hextall, a consultant dermatologist said: “Eczema can have an enormous impact on people’s lives, a day-to-day activity that one can take for granted, for example household duties, washing up, and bathing children are avoided in patients with eczema, because they are afraid of flare-ups.”

Dr Justine Hextall

“People can do a lot to help themselves, when people have dry skin or skin with eczema, then the skin barrier is very sensitive, for example to soaps, so using emollients to wash and moisturise the skin will definitely have an impact.”