How Can Bath Spa Skincare Help?
Please scroll down to see our our top ten tips for eczema prevention and treatment.
Sally Merrett, founder of Bath Spa Skincare, developed the following products to help prevent her daughter's eczema reoccurring:
Intensive Cream for Problem Dry Skin
With healing oat beta glucan, moisturising shea butter, omega 3 and GLA, soothing aloe vera and with cruelty-free beeswax and vitamin B3 to help skin barrier function. Comes with no added scent or with organic lavender and rose geranium for those that can tolerate essential oils. Can be used on body or face. Apply frequently to prevent eczema flare-ups (note it might not be suitable on actual sore eczema flare-ups, please patch test and read advice below).
Natural Body Wash
100% natural and pH balanced with no added scent and no SLS (this also comes with calming organic essential oils if your skin can tolerate them).
Pure Organic Jojoba Oil
A very versatile and gentle cleanser and moisturiser. Can be gently wiped off or washed off in lukewarm water. Also an excellent eye make-up remover!
A 100% natural alternative to prescription mineral oils to disperse in your bath water.
Bath Spa Skincare's Top Ten Tips for Eczema
Bath Spa Skincare advocates an holistic approach to treating skin concerns; it needs to be tackled from both the outside and the inside. Sally Merrett has the following advice:
- Firstly, check you are not having a reaction to something your skin comes into contact with - skincare, washing powder, washing-up gloves, cleaning products, swimming pool chlorine, sand, pets etc., or something you are eating - eggs, cows’ dairy, peanuts, citrus, wheat and excess saturated fats are often a problem, as are foods high in salicylates e.g. tomatoes, avocados, spinach and aspirin. You may need try alternative toiletries and cleaning products or an elimination diet.
- Check your stress levels. It might not be possible to immediately relieve the stress but be kind to yourself. A bit of relaxation, meditation, plenty of sleep and rest, smelling beautiful stress-busting essential oils. Often people find their eczema clears on sunny beach holidays - this could be the relaxation, the UV light or the salt water helping.
- Gentle cleansing - people with eczema can have an overgrowth of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin (found on 90% of skin affected by eczema compared to 5% of normal skin). This bacteria can activate the immune system surrounding them and trigger an irritation. Therefore keep the skin clean using cool or lukewarm water and use the mildest skin cleansers possible, avoid sodium lauryl/eth sulphate (SLS) which is in many liquid soaps, washes and bubble baths and can damage the skin barrier function. Soap can also cause problems as its pH can be very alkaline and disrupt the skin’s natural acidity. Do not bathe in too hot water and add natural oils or try oat powder or meal.
- Intensive moisturising - use intensive creams for dry skin up to 5 times a day as necessary. You may have to try a few moisturisers to find which is the best for you. Beneficial ingredients can include oat beta glucan, omega 3 and gamma linoleic acid (GLA), aloe vera, chamomile and propolis. Another ingredient that might be useful is urea; this is a natural component of the skin but sometimes deficient in eczema suffers. Bath Spa Skincare does not use urea as the synthetic manufacturing process is not good for the environment; however, it might be what your skin needs if nothing else is helping. Sometimes balms (a product with just oils or butters and no water or water soluble ingredients) are recommended for eczema; these can be helpful on open or wet eczema as there will be less stinging; however they do not always provide enough hydration (see point 9).
- Avoid synthetic and woollen fabrics, air conditioning and too high central heating.
Eczema supplements for adults. People with eczema are more likely to have a greater ratio of bad bacteria to good bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract and so probiotic supplements specifically for eczema can help (e.g. Bifidobacterium animalis, L.fermentum PCC, L.rhamnosus FF or Lactobacillus FF and L.paracasei shirota).
Eczema suffers are also more likely to have an incorrect acid-alkaline balance in their body, which can cause inflammation and eczema. Improve acid-alkaline balance with supplements such as chlorella (a blue-green algae supplement), drinking warm water with a cap-full of apple cider vinegar (with a straw so as not to damage your teeth) and increase your intake of green vegetables and almonds. Another culprit can be an overgrowth of Candida albicans. Retard overgrowth of Candida albicans with supplements like oregano and cutting out sugar. If you suspect your eczema is triggered by salicylates you could try a glycine supplement (check with your doctor if you are on medication, especially blood thinning ones such as aspirin). It is also helpful to support blood cleansing and liver detoxification with a supplement such as milk thistle, or herbal teas such as dandelion, burdock and liquorice. Probiotic supplements are also available for children.
- Eat moisturising foods. Significantly increase your intake of: omega 3 e.g. oily fish, flax seeds, hemp and flax oil; gamma linoleic acid (GLA) e.g. evening primrose oil or borage oil; prebiotic foods such as onion and garlic; fresh nuts, seeds and greens. Drink more water and herbal teas than you would normally. Significantly decrease sugar intake. To increase omega 3 for my young daughter I used ‘Eskimo Oil’ for kids as she wouldn’t eat oily fish.
- Sometimes, once eczema has flared up, the only way to get it under control is with prescription steroids/hydrocortisones. Don’t beat yourself up about using these, get it under control as quickly as possible and then go back to prevention mode. If you have to use a steroid cream for a long time it is probably not the right one for you and can permanently damage and thin your skin. Go back to your GP for one that works quickly.
- GPs often prescribe barrier creams for eczema. If you have been prescribed one, check it does not contain sodium lauryl/eth sulphate, which is a known skin sensitiser and can aggravate the very condition it is prescribed for. We also do not recommend using prescribed bath emollient in the long-term if it contains mineral oil/petrolatum which will coat the skin a bit like clingfilm and hinder the skin’s elimination function and possibly even the barrier function. However, it may help reduce trans-epidermal water-loss (TEWL) i.e. skin drying out, in the short-term. Some may also find that petroleum jelly or ‘Vaseline’ may help during a severe flare-up as it helps form a barrier with limited irritation (again not recommended for long-term preventative use).
- Unbearable itching? Fill a plastic bag with ice cubes, cover with a tea towel and hold next to skin and/or add 35g of oat powder/meal or bicarbonate of soda to your lukewarm short bath. Products containing aloe vera and chamomile may also help, as can special ‘anti-scratch’ suits for children.
*Disclaimer: No medical claim is implied or intended in relation to the products or information in this ‘top ten tips’ guide. It is intended as a helpful guide and contains suggestions based on personal experience, current knowledge and research. At the moment the law requires that unless a substance or product has a medical license, no claim can be made as to its efficiency for a medical condition.
- The Beautiful Skin Programme by Karin Baxter
- Government eczema guidelines