Eczema on my face, hands and body!

Hello Dr Annie

I have eczema on my face hands and sometimes on my body.  I have tried steroid creams, which didn’t work.  After going down the google route, which say try more creams should I be looking at my diet, my shampoo, body wash?  I’ve heard it could be my gut? I’m only 21, but it’s killing my confidence and making me depressed and I’m craving sweets Help!  




Dr Annie's Response:

I can understand how annoying it is to have a skin that talks back to you. There are secondary issues associated with skin irritation, including sleep deprivation and depression, so solutions are needed to keep you fully healthy. If the hands are involved this may be contact dermatitis rather than eczema. You may have guessed this as you are looking at soaps and shampoos as the villains and hand involvement in contact dermatitis is common.

Our skin can be sensitive to the many chemicals applied to it and the most common are soaps, shampoos and cleaning products/solvents. using soaps that are made from creams such as Doublebase, or an olive oil soap can be helpful. Always use gloves, lined with cotton, for washing up to avoid contact with harsher liquid soaps. Contact dermatitis can also be caused by an allergy particularly to metals, but you might have already noticed this in association to nickel in jewellery.

Diet becomes an issue when dealing with eczema, which is a different disorder. In children eggs are the main offender and it is important to exclude eggs when cooking (cakes, sweets etc). The next villain is milk (cow's or goat's), and a chicken or beef exclusion diet may be needed. Skin and blood tests from an allergy specialist are useful when the simple measures have failed to solve the problem.

Any skin problem needs simple daily support from hydration. After a bath or shower, it is important to apply a non-allergic moisturiser generously to avoid skin dryness, which makes the skin vulnerable to micro-cracks which start the vicious cycle of irritation. Oatmeal bath soaks have their enthusiasts. 

I hope you find your solution 

Dr Annie

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