Time to soothe the itch

September is eczema awareness month and with that in mind, I am going to talk through some of the best over the counter products available for this irritating condition.

If you have had eczema diagnosed by a doctor, you will know that medical advice is always the first port of call. Daily management of it is sometimes left to over the counter or health shop purchases.

What is eczema? The words eczema and dermatitis are often used interchangeably to describe several conditions that cause the skin to become dry, itchy, inflamed, or irritated. There are several types of eczema, but the term is most often used to refer to atopic eczema (also called atopic dermatitis). The word atopic refers to hypersensitivity reactions to something in the environment. Atopic eczema is a quite common, non-contagious, chronic (long-term) inflammatory skin condition. If you have atopic eczema, your skin barrier function is impaired or weakened. It can affect all areas of the body including the face and scalp.

Suu Balm Rapid Itch Relief Scalp Spray Moisturiser (€24.50) is water-based scalp spray moisturiser ideal for people with scalp conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, bad dandruff, dry, itchy scalp, eczema or anyone whose scalp is constantly itchy. This product is free from drying alcohol, steroid, paraben, and fragrances, making it suitable for use on all scalp types. The fresh cooling action gave me immediate relief and it helps with the appearance of my psoriasis too.

Eucerin has long been recognised as an affordable accessible brand in the treatment of dry sensitive skin. Eucerin’s Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm (€4.90) is a tiny handbag hero jar that soothes the skin and is clinically proven for use on all your dry skin needs, from extremely dry to chapped to chafed or cracked skin.

Formulated with only seven ingredients, it is gentle enough to be used on overly sensitive skin as well as on babies. Aquaphor protects the skin by creating a breathable protective barrier, allowing oxygen and water vapour to circulate to and from the skin, allowing skin to ‘breathe’ and strengthen its natural barrier function.

Eucerin UreaRepair Plus 5% Urea Body Cream (€13) gives dry, rough body skin the daily care it needs. It contains a unique combination of ingredients, urea and ceramides, and other moisturisers, which bind moisture in and repair skin´s natural protective barrier to prevent further moisture loss. The formula has been clinically and dermatologically proven to deliver both immediate relief and intense, long-lasting moisturisation, delaying dryness and roughness for up to 48 hours. Skin is intensely moisturised and looks and feels soft and smooth.

The Relief Relizema Hydrating Cleansing Bath Oil (€13.99) helps cleanse, hydrate and protect dry and sensitive skin. This gentle face and body oil cleanser contains no soap to help reduce the risk of sensitisation. The oil formulation can also be used to remove makeup to leave your skin feeling clean and hydrated.

Relife U-Life 10 (€22) is a moisturising body cream for dry skin. It provides immediate and long-lasting hydration for dry to extremely dry skin. Once again there are no fragrances or irritants in this body lotion, and it is effective and smoothing from the very first application.

Relife U-Life 10 (€17.50) is a moisturising smoothing ecofoam specifically formulated for the scalp. It helps restore the skin barrier and maintains optimal hydration levels for the skin. It does not leave your hair feeling sticky and there is no scent.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast for face and body (€11.99) contains five per cent panthenol. Cicaplast immediately helps soothe irritated skin and accelerate the skin's natural repair process. At the same time, its antibacterial action helps protect broken skin from infection.

When used on wounds, cicaplast provides a healthy healing environment to prevent long-term scarring. There is a hand cream, lip balm and other products in the range for all the family.