Eczema - prevention and alleviation

Prevention

If you are allergic to certain substances then be sure to avoid direct skin contact with products and objects that contain those substances. If you have sensitive skin or eczema, remember that some types of work and some jobs can make your eczema worse.

It's important to protect and look after your skin. You can do this by avoiding things that irritate your skin, not just at work or at school, but also at home. It's a good idea to use unperfumed products and to wear protective gloves. It's often best to use disposable gloves and throw them away after each job so that they don't get dirty on the inside. However, wearing protective gloves for long periods is also tough on the skin and you should therefore remove them frequently to allow the air to circulate.

It's important to rub a moisturising cream into your hands frequently as this restores the skin's fatty layer and the water-binding substances that disappear when you wash your hands. The cream should preferably be unperfumed.

Alleviation

If your eczema is red and itches, you will generally need to apply a cortisone cream, which you can buy from your pharmacist. If this doesn't work, go to your local health centre as you may need a stronger cream and a treatment plan. The itching will get worse if you scratch your eczema.

Legislation

Work to help prevent allergies has improved in recent years. For example, we have laws in the EU that aim to reduce allergies. The EU's nickel directive means, among other things, that jewellery, watches and buttons should not release nickel. We also have a cosmetics directive that requires manufacturers of make-up, soap and shampoo to state the product contents on the packaging.

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