Yikes am covered in eczema!

Hello, am going mad with pesky itchy eczema, it has flared up from just being angry red patches on my shins to all over my body. Aargh! its even on my forehead and eyelids, am sooooo itchy. Its starting to crack and bleed too, yuck! The cream i usually put on my legs the Pharmacist says is too potent to put on my face and neck, oh joy. Am like a greased chip am covered in Doublebase but am going mad with itching. Does anyone have any tips for stopping it itching, i usually just take Fexofenadine but its not working since its spread. Thank you, an itching for England Lois

20 Replies

  • Oh boy do I really sympathis, I am currently in the same position, bath in cool water (not cold), avoid hot baths and showers at all costs this makes the problem worse. Keep creams in fridge, and apply as much as possible. Since this is a recent flare up, see gp asap, I currently use Balneum Plus to ease itching, doesn't totally ease it, but helps alot. Also whilst at home wear as few layers as possible, I live in loose pjs at home, at night have light weight duvet, no more than 4.5 tog and if possible use a fan to blow air over you while you sleep. Also if you share your bed with a partner, prehaps until you recover sleep separately, when my eczema is intense, my husband's body heat drives me crazy, whilst my scratching keeps him awake.

    Wet wrapping might be useful too, I personally couldn't tolerate it, but you wet a tubigrip (or something similar) in tepid water, wring out and cover affected limb, then cover again with a dry tubigrip. GP's can prescribe special bodysuits for this purpose.

    Finally apply your creams 15 minutes apart, this gives each cream a chance to do its job.

    From another itchy and scratchy person, good luck.

  • UGH, this all sounds familiar to me too. Desperately trying to figure out how to get relief and resolution!

    Thanks for your suggestions!

  • Katina's already told you all my tips incl the one about keeping your Diprobase in the fridge - that worked a treat for me. A fan can sometimes help on your face to try to keep it cool. Have you any Piriton? You could try that instead of Fexofenadine.

    Much sympathy, I can relate very well to what you're going through and I hope it's only a brief flare.

  • Lois, I found singing my head off while out in the car, helped fight the itch, too. Also, and yes I know it sounds a strange one, but smartly slapping the itchy area rather than gently rubbing is good too.

    Aloe vera & propolis is cooling and soothing and good for the itch. Safe too.

    After my GP prescribed stronger and stronger steroid cream that burned my skin, a friend suggested a homeopathic doctor who suggested I use Aloe Vera with Propolis. She gave me Forever Living's product and since then I've bought direct from their website aloehealthuk.com/store/prod...

    Best wishes,


  • I know how you feel I was covered in Eczema once its not good winter is bad for me I get lots of Eczema !

    Some people will say this is bad advice but I'll say it anyway Sunbeds are great for Eczema, I brought a SunBed when someone told me how good it was and they were right it cleared it all up ! So now in the winter I try to go on once a month and no more eczema ! Hope that helps x

  • I would be very, very wary about advising unsupervised unregulated use of sunbeds due to the risks of skin cancer.

    UV therapy is used in severe cases of skin disease - more so for psoriasis than eczema - but in carefully controlled doses under medical supervision.

    If you wish to consider this therapy, please discuss it with your doctor/dermatologist in order to access it safely.

  • I think going on a sunbed for half an hour a month is a hell of a lot better for your body than laying in the sun for half the day on the beach which I see people do all the time !

    I'd also rather go on a sunbed for half an than use steriod creams that my Doctor gives me !!!!!!!

    Half an hour a month is not going to cause skin cancer, maybe half an hour a day yes but not half an hour a month !

    I also brought a Bioptron Lamp heres the info about it



    BIOPTRON Light Therapy can be used as a complementary therapy in the treatment of various skin problems, such as:




    Skin infections (by viruses or bacteria)

    Conditions affecting the mouth (ulcers, gum disease, inflammation of the lining of the mouth/lips, etc.)

    These types of skin conditions are quite common and most people will experience one or more of them at some point in their life. Although most skin diseases are not life-threatening, they can be very distressing and could have a negative impact on someone’s quality of life.

    BIOPTRON Light Therapy can help to promote skin healing and reduce the pain and discomfort associated with various skin disorders. This treatment is clean, painless and simple to use.

    It works great for me !

  • Hmm, yes, I'm sure half an hour on a sunbed is better for you than lying on the beach for many hours, but then as a doctor I wouldn't recommend either - particularly if you are of a fair complexion.

  • Genuine question:

    Is there a skin cancer risk in using steroid creams?

    If not, then surely they are safer than a sunbed?

  • Genuine Answer:

    No, there are no skin cancer risks associated with steroid creams.

    Although many people do worry about the side effects of steroid creams, in reality, if used appropriately they very rarely cause any side effects at all.

  • Genuine summisation:

    So the risk choice between steroid cream and UV threapy is between mild irritation or risk of a terminal condition?

    Just thought I'd check.

    My father had chronic psoriasis, so before embarking on our annual summer holiday to the med, he would visit his GP and discuss a ""sunbathing treatment plan"" (no, really) with regard to how much time to spend in the sun, how frequently, and what factor of sun lotion to use, and what to do after finishing sunbathing. When he returned home from the holiday, his psoriasis would always be the best it had been all year - no doubt also helped by the reduced stress levels you get when you're enjoying a beach holiday!

    However, throughout all of this he was continuing with the treatment plan created for him by his GP; the UV stuff was in addition to his usual medications, and under the strict supervision of his GP.

    So, I guess what this boils down to is:

    I have seen at first hand the benefits that UV treatment can bring to sufferers of chronic psoriasis, but ONLY when done under the supervision of a health professional, based on their treatment plan, and in addition to regular steroid cream treatment.

  • I have been using steriod cream for years and I have a lot of broken capillaries to show for it.

    Now I have to cover them with makeup as I am sooooo embarrassed by them !

    I am all for taking medicine and other therapies together, I take enough medicine so I have to be.

  • Thanks for all the tips. Phew the bliss of refrigerated creams, can't stand heat on the worse bits, can't even bear anything to touch it. I didn't know eczema could be this painful and itchy, the worse bit on my shin is shiny red and cracked. Its wierd because it feels sort of numb but is also tight and prickly but at least its not bleeding or oozing. Must have scratched in my sleep because when i woke up it was bleeding on the other bits of my body. Oh yuck! I didn't know eczema was this itchy and painful. I think its flared up because its coming up to a year since my lovely Mum passed away following a tragic accident. Does anyone know if its okay to put the steroid cream on the bits where the skin is broken? Thank you, an itchy and wheezy Lois

  • Hi Lois,

    Sounds like you're really struggling with this at the moment, and from your last post, stress/emotion seems to be a part of it - I know this is a problem with me too, but not so easy to get rid of. I know how horrible flare-ups can be, so I hope you get some relief soon.

    You've got some great advice from Katinda and I hope that begins to help you. I would also add that once you've got this flare-up under control (and you will, but know when it's bad you can end up thinking it's never going to go) to try and get into a really good routine with applying the Diprobase (or whichever you use) regularly as keeping your skin moisturised will help to lessen future flare-ups. I don't know if you pay for your prescriptions, but I get my Diprobase on prescription from my GP (I get a big tub for home and a smaller tube to take out with me) and that helps me apply it regularly.

    As to steroid creams, firstly in reply more to some of the replies you've had, I wouldn't worry about side-effects especially if you're only using them intermittently - as my GP said, far better using that than having the lasting effects of ongoing eczema and I totally agree. Also, it's a very small amount you're using, so I don't think the effects can be huge (I also compare that to the pred I've taken and suddenly it doesn't seem like anything to worry about!!). I'm not sure about your question about using it on cracked skin - I think you can and I'm sure I have and I've just checked the leaflet with mine and it doesn't say don't, but perhaps it would be worth maybe asking your pharmacist or a nurse/doc if you're at your surgery?

    The other thing, if it's very red and bleeding, especially if you have open sores, it's possible to get infection. If they are quite red, I would see your GP, because if there's an infection you need antibiotics alongside the steroid cream.

    Also - and this will sound silly, but it does help - cotton gloves to wear at night - stops you itching whilst asleep - as well as of course cutting your nails very short.

    Hope you get some improvement and relief soon.

  • Thanks Ratty, have never had a flare up like this before, its always been confined to just my legs or arms. Thanks ever so for your advice, will ask Dr or Nurse to look at it tommorow for me - on my shin there is a large shiny bright red patch that feels numb but tight and prickly at the same time! Am not worried about the steroid cream, i am on a high dose of Pred anyway. I would rather have the risk of skin thinning etc than the risk of skin cancer from a sun bed. Don't think i could tolerate the heat of a sun bed anyway.

    I do cover for the Dermatology clinic and some of the letters i type are for people who are really young with skin cancer and have used sun beds. So i would give sun beds a very wide berth. Thanks again, an itchy Lois

  • Hi Lois - if you've got bits that are shiny/weeping definitely get a doc/nurse to check it. Superficial infection with Staph is common, especially in atopic peeps, and can mean particularly bad flares which don't respond well to the usual treatments - you may need some antibiotics (either oral or topical) if this is the case.

  • Thank you CathBear will get checked out tommorow. I have been putting the Elocon and Doublebase on but so far its not helping much its still very red, shiny and feels tight - on my legs it feels numb too. But on my neck and chest it has not gone into one big red shiny area it is itchy and lots of blotches and feels like sunburn sort of stings and feels red hot. I had no idea eczema could be this bad! Thanks ever so for your tips and advice, the coldness of the cream is lovely it just hurts when i rub it in! Sorry for moaning. How is the running coming along? Hope you reach your total, hope it won't be too hot on the day as well, take real good care, thanks, Lois

  • Dear Lois,

    I'm sure you are already very careful with the detergent you use to wash your clothes, but I just thought I'd tell everyone about my brother's exzema. He had used the same detergent for about 20 years, then suddenly broke out all over his body with very severe eczema. When he changed his detergent to a very mild baby washing liquid, the eczema went away.

    He even had eruptions on his ears where his head rested on his pillowcase which was washed with the strong detergent.

    I was experiencing skin problems myself at that time (although no where near as severe as his) and I also recovered when I changed detergents. I feel I can understand how absolutely stressed you must be from your eczema though.

    Hoping this is of some help


  • Hi lwingedangel have bumped this for you, my flare up has settled now after following Katina and CathBears tips (THANK YOU) I feel for you, i had no idea how bad eczema could be till my last flare up. I have been seen by the consultant dermatologist since and he was lovely and told me to carry on doing what Katina and CathBear had said and that even when it settled to keep covering myself in Doublebase to keep my skin moist. Oh one more thing i would give sun beds a very wide berth! Hope this helps, a much less itchy Lois

  • eczema

    hi i hope your eczema is alot better now ive only just seen your post my 6 year old suffers from eczema and i have to watch everything from what she eats to cleaning products and washing detergents .her skin has been that bad she has been hospitalised since jan however she is much better she takes piriton daily and now moisturises at least 3 times a day no matter what and i know its time consuming but it works.have you tried aveeno cream its brilliant also speak to your dermatologist about how you apply your cream as putting it on wrong can irritate it even more.[dont rub it in just dab it on]also the amount you use i hope this helps as i know just how horrible it can be.

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