What's Eczema?

Eczema. Dry, cracked, sore, itchy skin

Your skin needs its own natural oils to keep it supple and moist, and help prevent infection.

When you have eczema, these natural oils are lacking within the skin and it becomes dry, itchy and sometimes crusty and weepy.
Scratching makes it worse, of course, and when the skin is cracked, infection can get in and do even more damage.
The problem is also made worse by the use of soap, shampoo and exposure to detergents.
Sufferers can also be allergic to such things as pet hair, dust, pollen and certain foods. Temperature extremes can be a problem too, as can certain clothing, such as woolly jumpers and non-cotton garments.
You can get eczema anywhere on your body, although it usually affects the places where skin is creased, such as the backs of knees and the insides of your elbows.
No one is sure why some people get eczema and others don’t, but there is often a family link.

More people than ever have eczema

The number of people suffering from eczema has almost trebled in the last 30 years and today, one in twelve adults has the problem and one in five children.
Eczema is a chronic condition that can’t be cured, but can be managed with attention to diet, environment, skin care and lifestyle.

WATCH THE VIDEO - "Skin Deep in the NHS" is an educational episode aimed at patients/end users suffering with dry skin conditions.

Eczema in Children

One in five children will experience eczema

Central heating, carpets, pollutants, household chemicals, pets, fast foods, heredity – whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that childhood eczema is a growing problem.

There’s some good news, however: it’s not contagious and 60–70% of childhood sufferers will be clear by their early teens.

If eczema persists into the teenage years, it can create self-esteem problems and interfere with studying and exams. Managing teenage eczema can minimise these problems (see Tubifast™ Garments Patch Wrap).


Itching and scratching

Younger children can find it difficult to resist the urge to scratch – it’s a natural reaction, after all. But scratching an itch creates a vicious circle – the more you scratch, the more you itch – which worsens the condition and, in some cases, leads to bleeding, skin infection and thickening of the skin.

Avoiding the triggers

Managing eczema is about trying to avoid the things that set it off while, at the same time, using emollients and wraps to keep the skin moist.

It’s a good idea to keep a diary of what places, fabrics, foods and occurrences seem to make the condition worse and plan to avoid them.

Try to minimise scratching  with distraction games and establish routines, such as emollient therapy and wet or dry wrapping*, to soothe and moisturise the child’s skin.

*Wet wrapping should only be done if a healthcare practitioner advises it.

What To Do About Eczema?

Manage and moisturise – two keys to treating eczema

A programme for dealing with eczema will have two main parts: Managing and avoiding the causes of the problem. Moisturising the skin.

Managing and avoiding the causes

You probably know only too well that eczema flares up when you least want it to – before a big night out, an interview or holiday, for example. You’ll also have an idea what foods or fabrics make it worse and how much the family pet is a problem.
Trouble is, normal life gets in the way and we encounter eczema triggers at work or elsewhere that we aren’t able to avoid. Stress can also play its part – and simply worrying about a flare-up can sometimes bring one on.

So what’s the answer? Well, may we suggest a little selfishness?

  • Make sure your home and work environments are free from irritants.
  • Establish a ‘zero-tolerance’ rule regarding the foods and drinks that set you off. (The rest of the family will just have to get used to it!).
  • Be polite but firm when saying ‘no’ to offers of inappropriate snacks, drinks or visits to places that affect your condition.
  • Buy or borrow a relaxation tape or a book about meditation to help your stress, and set aside at least 20 minutes a day for calm and quiet contemplation.
  • If you haven’t done so already, make a plan to change your wardrobe to all-natural fibres.
  • Drink 2 litres of water a day. You can moisturise your skin from the inside as well as the outside.

    Moisturising the skin

    The second part of the plan is easier.
    Use Epaderm® ointment or cream and apply it liberally to the affected areas of your skin. At least twice a day is good.
    You can’t use too much – emollients aren’t like steroids – and you can also combine them with Tubifast™ Garments, Gloves and Patch Wrap to cover the affected areas and lock the moisture into your skin.
    Tubifast Patch Wrap looks like a sports support, so it's not embarrassing to wear in public!
    Find out more about wet and dry wrapping*.
    *Wet wrapping should only be done if a healthcare practitioner advises it.
Eczema Treatments

Eczema treatments

Epaderm® is available as an ointment or a cream and is suitable for people of all ages, including babies.

Epaderm Ointment is a 3-in-1 emollient, which means you can use it as a skin cleanser, a skin moisturiser or a bath additive. Epaderm Ointment is especially good in wet wrapping – a recommended treatment for childhood eczema.
Epaderm Cream is a 2-in-1 emollient that is suitable for skin moisturising and cleansing. It’s an ideal alternative to harsh soaps or detergents and should always be used when washing dry skin.



Tubifast™ Patch Wrap is the simple way to soothe dry skin patches. It's the same shape as your arm or leg and you just roll it on to cover and protect the emollient on your skin.

Tubifast Patch Wrap is really comfy. It stretches two ways and even moulds to awkward areas like knees and elbows.


Tubifast Gloves can cut night-time scratching by 60%. Kids with eczema have a hard time at night, losing sleep through constant itching and scratching.

Using an emollient under Tubifast Gloves can really help with this problem, cutting down scratching by more than half and improving sleep, which in turn boosts general health and happiness for parents and guardians as well as children.


Tubifast Garments make wet-wrapping* easy and fun for kids. They’re ready-to-wear vests, tights, leggings, socks and gloves in a range of sizes for up to age 14. Some even have cartoon characters on them!

The 2-way stretch fabric and SoftSeam Technology™ make them really comfy and they can be worn under day or night-clothes.

*Wet wrapping on children should only be done if a healthcare practitioner advises it.

Eczema Support

Sources of help for eczema sufferers

You're not alone

Eczema is becoming more and more prevalent around the world and, although this information doesn’t help much when you’re itching, it’s often really useful being able to connect with other sufferers or get general advice from health care professionals.
The links below are some of the larger eczema groups or advice sites.
Mölnlycke Health Care is not responsible for the content on any of these sites or for any advice you may receive from them.

National Eczema Society

Boltro Road, Haywards Heath, (monthly meeting)
British Skin Foundation
The British Association of Dermatologists



Welcome to contact Mölnlycke Health Care about Eczema!

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