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More than skin deep - The effects of eczema

22nd September 2010 Print

To coincide with National Eczema Week, a new survey by skincare brand E45 reveals the effects of eczema are not just skin deep.

Not only does the skin condition leave sufferers having to cope with itchy, dry skin, it also has a strong physical, emotional and psychological impact, often on the whole family.

29% of family members of sufferers admitted that eczema had a knock-on effect on the family's sleeping pattern. Parents of young children and babies are often the silent sufferers, coping with a child who is unable to communicate or understand their discomfort, becoming distressed due to the constant itching. The wider effects can also impact family life, disturbing playtime and quality time with the family. Parents can be left feeling frustrated and upset, which can also affect other family members and magnify the situation.

The poll found that, amongst adults, 36% of sufferers were left feeling stressed, whilst 30% found it difficult to get a good night's sleep. The effects of eczema are highly visible, with skin left red and sore from itching, and this can have a strong psychological impact on sufferers, leaving them embarrassed. One in five of those polled admitted they always cover affected areas such as arms and legs, while 16% say they never wear shorts, skirts or dresses through fear that their eczema will be seen.

Dr. Steve Hewitt, skincare specialist at E45, comments "Our research uncovered the less visible effects of eczema which can be as equally distressing to those suffering from the skin condition on a daily basis. Early and regular treatment, even when a flare up isn't visible, is the key to keeping it under control. Using a good emollient regime of E45 Cream can help manage the condition from day to day."

Around 12% of adults suffer from Ezcema in the UK, with up to 20% of children affected. 25% of babies in the UK now show signs of eczema, with 160,000 infants diagnosed each year with the skin condition.