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Getting control of eczema – text version

Narrator: How do we get control of eczema? People with eczema experience flare-ups, which make the skin sore and itchy. In lighter skin, this may look red. In darker skin, it may look grey, purple, or brown. Flare control creams, which are usually steroid creams or ointments, help reduce the flare-up. Think of this as the treatment to put out the eczema flare-up just like a firefighter putting out a fire. The steroids in these creams are like the ones produced naturally by the body and so are very good at treating sore and itchy skin. They also help the skin to heal. Steroid creams are safe if they’re used correctly. I have asked some people with eczema about their tips for using steroid creams. Health professionals agree that these are great tips.

Person 1. I was told by the dermatologist that I only need a thin layer and only to the areas where I have eczema. It is safe to put steroid creams on broken skin. It feels stingy but I notice that that it doesn’t sting once the skin heals after a day or two.

Person 2. I try to use flare- control creams as soon as I spot a flare-up; it makes it go away faster! I use them once a day when I have a flare-up.

Person 3. I found it’s best to keep using the flare control cream for two days after the skin returns to normal and feels soft. If I don’t do that, I find it just comes back quicker. Sometimes eczema can still be under the skin even when it looks ok.

Person 4. When I have a flare I carry on using moisturising creams (emollients) every day to help soothe the skin and prevent future flare-ups. My health professional recommended a gap of at least 20 minutes and said it didn’t matter what order I use. I usually put my moisturisers on in the morning and at night so I keep doing that but I then add my flare-control cream on after when I come back home instead of waiting around for the 20 minutes gap!

Narrator: For a mild eczema flare-up, it usually takes 5-7 days to get the flare under control. For a thicker patch of eczema, or more severe flare-up it may take a few weeks. If an eczema flare-up does not start to get better after a week, you should see your doctor or nurse as you may need a different cream. Getting control of eczema using flare control creams will help stop the flare-up getting worse and will help your skin heal faster. Once you get control with flare control creams then keep control with moisturising creams.