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Eczema (young people)

Eczema treatments: bath oils, soap and shampoo replacements

Lots of the young people we talked to had tried:
  • bath oils and emollients (added to a bath)
  • soap and shower gel substitutes/replacements
  • shampoos (medicated and cosmetic)
Bath oils and emollients

Some people had used bath oils and emollients. There were mixed views on these: some people liked bath oils, but others found them too greasy and felt it clogged their skin. Evie tried bath oils but didn’t find them any more helpful than just moisturising. Katie-Lauren and Ele both said that bath oils made their eczema more irritated. Laura’s parents soon realised she was allergic to lanolin when she tried bath oils containing the ingredient.
 

Georgia finds that baths help her relax and using bath oils keeps her skin moisturised.

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Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 4
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I bathe every day, normally at night. I like hot baths but I have to wait, I do like hot baths but I’m not gonna lie, I’m not supposed to have hot baths. But I feel like it’s my only vice, so I never want to get rid of them – it helps me relax a bit better. I will bathe in, I’ll either use one of my creams which will, which you can use as an alternative to shower gel or as a cleanser. I will use a bath oil as well to lock in the moisture. I will do that for about twenty minutes.
Soap and shower gel substitutes

Lots of people said that showering every day upset their skin and that some shower gels, soaps and bubble baths made their eczema worse. Some people used shop-bought brands of soap and shower gel which worked well for them. Others had used prescribed soap/shower gel substitutes. Laura and Aisha use their leave-on emollient for also washing with, which meant they got through their prescribed bottles quickly. Some people found that using soap substitutes helped their skin. Others didn’t like soap, shower gel or shampoo substitutes. Sarah found it harder to moisturise after using a shower gel substitute because it felt like there was a layer already on top of her skin. Abid once slipped in the shower because the soap substitute had made the floor greasy. Gary doesn’t use any soap or shower gel at all and says that he finds water is enough to clean his skin.
 

Katie-Lauren doesn’t like that her shower gel substitute looks, feels and smells different to shop-bought products she previously used.

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Age at interview: 19
Sex: Female
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When you get like a cream to do your whole body, it can either be really oily or you can put it on and then it soaks up so quickly that it feels like you've not put any on or it can be really greasy. The one I’ve got now is quite greasy, but it works and you put, you can have a shower and then put it on and you feel dirty already. And like it makes you really sweaty and it doesn't feel nice. But I can’t not use it, so, yeah.
Having to use the soap in public or shared bathrooms was talked about by a few people. Some people tried to avoid having to use these and carried about small bottles of soap substitute and, for Laura, hand sanitiser.

Shampoos

People with eczema on their scalp often tried medicated shampoos, either prescribed by their doctors or bought from a shop/pharmacy. Alice got one from her GP but didn’t use it because of the smell. Vicky had a medicated tar shampoo. Aman finds that Head&Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo works fine for him. Aisha has tried lots of medicated shampoo but finds mild baby shampoo works best. Himesh has been using a medicated shampoo for a while and can’t remember what ‘normal’ shampoo was like before. Some people found that ‘normal’ shampoo could also irritate eczema on other parts of their body too. This is the case for Laura who moisturises more afterwards to compensate for it.
 

Anissa had eczema on her scalp. Her doctor gave her a steroid lotion to put on her scalp but she wishes she’d tried a prescribed shampoo first.

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Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
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I started to notice it, so I’d be a bit itchy and I’d be like ‘arrgh.’ And I thought, you know, first of all, I was like, ‘Oh God, I hope it’s not head lice.’ [Laughs] And then obviously kept checking and getting people to check and be like, “It’s really itchy.” And them being like, “Oh, it’s really red. Oh, is it bleeding? Your scalp it’s really sore. You need to stop scratching. Something’s irritating. It’s your shampoo. It’s probably dandruff.” And then obviously changing my shampoo. Extra thoroughly washing my hair. 

 “Oh, it looks worse actually.” [Laughs] “Oh, okay maybe I should go to the doctors now.” Go to the doctors. So, I asked for a shampoo for eczema and he said to me like, “A lot of people don’t like the shampoo because it makes your hair greasy and you will smell like it.” So he, instead of giving me the shampoo he gave me, I think it’s almost the same, no it’s, begins with C, maybe. It’s a head steroid cream, that’s in a little thing like that, and it goes up and it’s like little drops that you have to, and it burns and it burns so much and no one told me. 

Right, so I was kind of thought, like I wasn’t even sure that it was a steroid cream. As soon as I applied it he was like, you know, like, “You would just shampoo, I guess.” Which basically means the only similarity to the shampoo is that it goes on your head.
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