Shopping News: More than Skin Deep

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The Independent Culture
YOU MIGHT not feel like celebrating much if your nights are wrecked and your social life ruined by red-raw, itchy eczema - but do your best, because this is your special week. The cheery message for this year's 18th-anniversary National Eczema Week is that the condition does not just affect children - and that it's not something you will automatically 'grow out of'. Some people reluctantly join the club much later in life: retirement is a peak period.

Many rely for relief on topical steroid creams - 'perfectly safe', says the society, provided they are applied correctly and not over-used. 'When they were first developed, doctors used to favour whamming them on,' says one society spokeswoman. 'Now we think they shouldn't be used permanently. Emollients and special bath oils should keep the condition under control most of the time, and steroids should be saved for flare-ups.'

The society lists recommended skin-care, bath and shampoo products (sae to National Eczema Society, 4 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RA). But, alas, they emphasise that keeping individual cases of flaking, cracking and soreness at bay is a matter of trial and error. A regime that works well for a while may

suddenly need changing, too. They also advise anyone using Chinese herbal remedies for the condition to have regular liver toxicity tests.

IF YOUR children won't eat their greens, here's a crafty way to sneak vegetable vitamins past them. Try mixing Green Essence with their juice. It's a fine powder containing 14 vegetables in flash-dried form, providing vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E. It costs pounds 9.95 per jar. Available by post from Larkhill Green Farm, 225 Putney Bridge Road, London SW15 2PY (tel: 081-874 1130).

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