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.
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