Eczema cases rocket by 400%: see full list of triggers

Most people who suffer from eczema find the symptoms to be incredibly painful – but research has found an increase in the number of people reporting the skin condition.

Eczema is a common condition that causes itchiness, dry skin, rashes, scaly patches, blisters and skin infections.

Previous statistics from the National Eczema Society revealed that around 10 percent of the UK population suffer from the condition.

But a survey commissioned by Typharm’s Skin Life Sciences Foundation has found that almost half of Brits are affected by eczema (44 percent).

In fact, 66 percent of those who say they suffer from eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis blame stress and anxiety for skin flare-ups, dryness, and itchiness.

Meanwhile, 72 percent revealed that increased handwashing led to a worsening of symptoms.

More than half of respondents said that their hands are the most affected part of their body (55 percent), while 38 percent said it’s the inside of their elbows.

Around 35 percent claimed the back of their knees is the most irritated area, and 29 percent say they get it on their face.

Finally, 24 percent reported getting eczema on their scalp.

According to the NHS, known eczema triggers include:

Irritants – such as soaps and detergents, including shampoo, washing-up liquid and bubble bath

Environmental factors or allergens – including cold and dry weather, dampness, and more specific triggers such as house dust mites, pet fur, pollen and moulds

Food allergens – such as allergies to cows’ milk, eggs, peanuts, soya and wheat

Certain materials – such as wool and synthetic fabrics

Hormonal changes – some women find their symptoms get worse during pregnancy or days before their period

Skin infections

Stress or anxiety

Chlorine in swimming pools

Being too hot or too cold

Dr Nisa Aslam from the Skin Life Sciences Foundation has shared an insight into eczema, and how it can impact quality of life.

The GP said: “Eczema is a non-contagious, inflammatory dry skin condition where the skin is often unbearably itchy. For many, the urge to scratch can be pretty much irresistible and, during a flare-up, it can also be red, cracked, sore and raw.

“The severity of eczema varies greatly from person to person – for some it’s just a minor irritation but for others, it can greatly affect their quality of life.

“Alongside the painful physical symptoms, many children and adults experience related sleeplessness, anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.

She added: “It would seem that stress and anxiety, such as the increased pressures borne out of the pandemic, has also led to an exacerbation of eczema symptoms.”

The doctor said that those with eczema don’t have to suffer in silence, as there are many treatment options available.

“There are now a variety of prescribed skin treatment options from ointments, creams to the development of new formats like medicated tapes such as Fludroxycortide tape, which is also waterproof to help deliver steroids within a different format that can be used for flare-ups and short periods of time (not prolonged time periods),” Dr Nisa explained.

The expert added: “When applied to the skin, it helps reduce redness, swelling and itching and contributes to wound healing.

“Finding the most effective therapy is often a matter of trial and error, so it’s important to keep going back to your doctor, or dermatologist, for advice.”