It is more important than ever that people keep up their eczema treatments at these times of high stress associated with the COVID 19 restrictions. You may possibly have less income than usual (or no income) to spend on your treatments. Here are a few tips I share with patients in my nurse-led eczema education clinic.
1. Always wash your hands before doing treatments.
2. Get all of your moisturiser out of ‘empty’ containers. There is often lots of moisturiser left in the containers, tubes or the pump bottles.Tubes: When you cannot get any more out, cut the bottom off the tube. Inside there is quite a lot of cream. You can use a clean spoon to scoop enough to use and put it into your skin. If there is still more left, put the cut off tube in a clean plastic bag (ziplock is good), seal it off until you need to use it next time.Pump packs: Use safety precautions as you would when using any sharp knife. Cut off the bottom of the pump pack where there is an easy spot to cut. Inside you will see lots of cream coating the sides. Wash your hands. Scrape off the cream from the sides. Often the clean silicon spatulas used for cooking are good. Use what you need on your skin. Again, put the unused amount in the now cut off bottle in a clean plastic bag and seal off until you need to use it next time.(I have weighed the amount of cream used in a popular overseas brand of moisturising cream and got about 170gms out of each ‘empty bottle’ each time in 4 pump packs!!)
3. Body and face washes/cleansers: Cleansers are also washes, although some people think cleanser is for the face only!!Most brands of Cleansers work well as shampoo also. Shampoo (commercial ones) are like putting bubble bath on the head, so for people with eczema, it is best to not use commercial shampoo. There are special ones for eczema, but if finances are tight, you can use the wash as your shampoo. As it has moisturising factors in it already for your skin, it usually also works as a conditioner.
Warning on cheap cleansers: If you change to using Sorbolene as a wash/cleanser, make sure you buy the Sorbolene cream NOT the Sorbolene body wash/cleanser. Reason: The different brands of cheaper/generic wash often contain the preservative methylchloroisothiazolinone or methylisothiazolinone. These are known to cause contact dermatitis (eczema), and dermatologists and allergists want people to avoid this compound in any products they use. It is also in many normal shampoos. Detailed, reliable information, is available at Preservative information Occupational Dermatitis Research and Education Centre (2020).
With everyone washing their hands more often now, you can also check this in family members, who may not have eczema, but who have now dry, itchy skin from the extra washing. Ask about the ingredients in their wash.Sorbolene cream makes a good body wash for many people. Usually it stored on the shop shelf with the moisturisers section of the chemist/pharmacy or supermarket. Eventually, when you can spend time in the supermarket again, you can look at these differences, so see how many people are ‘caught out’, thinking the sorbolene wash will be ok. Note* Sorbolene does not work as well as a shampoo.
See the other website links on the Eczema Support website for more details of managing eczema at these challenging times.
Australian College of Dermatology
Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology & Allergy Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia
Article written by: Deryn Thompson RN BN MN PhD candidate. University of South Australia and Eczema education nurse, Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Deryn.email@example.com.