April 9th, 2015

Allergy Awareness Week 2015, runs from 20th-26th April, and it aims to raise awareness and draw attention to the plight of the allergy sufferer. Highlighting the issues faced by those with allergies, as well as encouraging people to talk about their allergy and to help others!

Here at What Skin Needs, we want to do the same, so to mark this great week; we are going to start by taking a look at Atopic Eczema…


What is Atopic Eczema?

Atopic eczema, which is also called atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory condition of the skin. Atopic means relating to or caused by, a hereditary predisposition to developing allergic reactions, such as eczema, hayfever or asthma after exposure to specific allergens such as pollen, food or insect venom.  Eczema is the term used to describe changes in the upper layer of the skin. Eczema symptoms can include redness, blistering, oozing, crusting, thickening and sometimes pigmentation on the skin.


How common is it?

Atopic eczema is one of the most commonly seen skin disorders, with 1% of all children’s doctors visits attributed to atopic dermatitis issues. Overall, it affects from 1-10% of infants, with 27% of infants developing atopic dermatitis due to their parents having allergies too. While atopic eczema is more common in infants, it can sometimes still be present by the age of 25, and for some people, it is a life long and chronic condition.


So what causes Atopic Eczema?

It is very difficult to say what specifically causes eczema, but it is believed to be a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. If a parent or indeed both parents have an atopic allergy, then the chances of their child developing an allergy is incredibly high.

As we mentioned earlier, there are also various environmental factors that can contribute to bringing out the symptoms too. These include:


·        Irritants, such as soaps, detergents or shampoos

·        Allergens like pets, dust mites, pollen or mould

·        Microbes, which are bacteria such viruses or certain fungi

·        Hot and cold temperatures

·        Foods, such as diary products, eggs, nuts and seeds or wheat

·        Stress, although not a cause of eczema it can indeed make the symptoms worse

·        Hormones


Is there a cure?

Sadly, there is no universal cure for atopic eczema, but there are treatments that can ease the symptoms. However, more often than not, many children will indeed find that their symptoms naturally improve as they get older. Usually doctors describe Corticosteroid creams for severe symptoms, but for some they might even worsen the condition. So is there a natural way to ease symptoms?


What can help ease symptoms?


Moisturise with oils

Try using a moisturiser everyday to stop the skin becoming too dry. Oils are great way to moisturize the skin. Olive oil has been to moisture the skin since Roman times.  For those with eczema or extremely dry/sensitive skin, this oil penetrates deep into the epidermis to nourish and soften skin without any unnatural ingredients or allergens. Other great oil is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil has high emollient (skin softening) properties which may improve your skin’s capacity to retain moisture.


Reduce Irritation with plant extracts

Atopic Eczema can make the skin very irritated and red. Some natural plant extracts are great way to calm the skin. Tea Tree Oil is a concentrated plant oil from the leaves of a Melaeuca altemifolia tree from Australia. Tea Tree Oil can help soothe sores, blisters and rashes because of its antifungal, antiviral and antiseptic properties, so look for gels and balms that contain Tea Tree Oil. Plantolin is also a great plant extract to reduce irritations in atopic eczema as it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which naturally helps the skin to reduce irritations and redness.


What should I avoid? 

Ingredients you don’t know

More ingredients the skincare product has the bigger possibility there is that one of the ingredients will irritate your skin. Stick with the ingredients you know – a great way is to choose natural products which usually have less ingredients. Also in natural products the ingredients list is usually easy to read – you know what you are putting to your skin. Just keep in mind that you can be allergic even to natural ingredients. The best way to find out is trial and error or allergy test.


Some Preservatives

Preservatives like methylparaben or butylparaben can also lead to inflammation, so this is another ingredient to avoid, instead try using products with natural preservatives like neem oil or grapefruit seed extract.



No matter how soft and subtle a scent may be, ingredients that give fragrance to make-up of lotions can trigger eczema flare-ups! Pick make-up and skincare products that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin and look for products that don’t contain fragrances. 


09 / 04 / 2015

This is What Skin Needs Natural Skincare blog. Here we share tips for skincare, skin conditions and health.