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Eczema is a skin condition characterised by dry, itchy skin, which readily becomes inflamed and at times infected.  Treatment of eczema is best under the care of a specialist dermatologist who can understand the type of eczema and it's most appropriate treatment. There are other skin conditions that can mimic eczema, which a dermatologist will be looking for whenever examining an eczema patient. 

Eczema and allergy

Eczema can be related to allergy for a minority of eczema patients.  Although most patients, or parents, who attend are concerned about allergies, only a few will have a relevant allergy.  Where appropriate, we will conduct allergy testing, but the majority of patients are able to carry on with a normal diet and normal life. 

Food allergies

Young children with eczema do have a slightly increased risk of developing a food allergy.  In assessing these patients, it is important to gather information relating to their diet, and any foods that lead to vomiting, diarrhoea or a rash.  Also, it is important to know if children are gaining weight and height at an appropriate rate so your records in the "red book" will be helpful.  Food allergies can be tested by skin prick testing or by blood tests, if appropriate. 

Contact Dermatitis 

Contact dermatitis is a kind of eczema that occurs when the skin comes into contact with a substance that you are allergic to.  This is different from the food allergy described above.  Commonly, this type of rash is triggered by preservatives found in cosmetics or domestic products, fragrances, metals such as nickel in jewellery, rubbers, clothing dyes and other materials.  Your dermatologist will explore whether this is relevant to you and whether you will benefit from patch tests. 

Eczema skin care plan

It is important that eczema patients have clear skin care plan which is tailored to their individual case.  This will be explained you at the time of your consultation.  The plan will include:


  • A body wash (soap free, often antibacterial)
  • A moisturiser - many patients will be given one for night and one for daytime use
  • An anti-inflammatory - this may be a steroid or a steroid free cream depending on your case


Following the skin care plan will dramatically improve most patients skin if adhered to.  There are some patients who require more potent therapy such as immunosupressant medication. 

What to do next?

If you would like to have your or a family member's eczema assessed, you are welcome to book in. If you can bring a list of previous treatments, that can be helpful.  Sometimes you may even be given a product you haev used before, but it's a matter of how you use it, not just what you use.  You can be seen at any of our venues: The London Clinic, King's College Hospital, London, or the BMI Sloane Hospital, Beckenham.