Parents urged to go back to basics to get control of eczema

After a new survey reveals almost half of parents (48% per cent) want better support from their GP to manage their child’s eczema1, E45 has teamed up with the National Eczema Society (NES) to launch a new 3 step treatment plan and online advice programme to help parents get to grips with eczema.

Around one in five children in the UK has eczema and in 8 out of 10 cases, the condition occurs before a child reaches five years of age. ‘Emollients’ (substances used for moisturising, washing and bathing that help soften and smooth the skin to keep it supple and moist) are recognised as the most important treatment for eczema, however the new research by E45 and the NES show that in practice, many parents are not using these treatments as effectively as they could be.

Almost half (49 per cent) of mums only apply emollient creams and ointments to the affected areas of their child’s skin, when medical guidance from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that to get the best results from emollients treatments they should be applied to the whole body, even when their child’s skin appears clear of eczema. The survey also highlighted that many parents could be hampering the effect of these treatments by the way they apply them , over one in two (53 per cent) ‘rub’ creams and ointments into their child’s skin1 which can actually make eczema worse by irritating the skin.

eczema advice

To overcome the common mistakes parents make when using emollients and to help them get the full benefits from these treatments the E45 3 step treatment plan has been developed in line with NICE and NES guidance;

Step 1:
Apply emollient creams and ointments all over your child’s body 2-3 times a day

Step 2:
Use gentle strokes in the direction of the hair growth when applying emollients

Step 3:
Use soap substitutes and an emollient bath oil to cleanse your child’s skin

Margaret Cox, chief executive of the NES comments “Emollient’s can be very effective to keep eczema under control and in some cases can reduce the need for stronger treatments like steroid creams. The problem is, emollients MUST be used correctly and parents don’t always get the support and education they need to do this, meaning many parents don’t achieve the full benefits.  The new 3 step treatment plan emphasises the 3 basic rules of using emollients, if parents strive to get these right, they should see an improvement in their child’s skin which will in turn help them feel much more in control of the condition.”

To help parents get the most from the 3 step treatment plan, E45 has also launched a free support programme . The new online resource is designed to educate parents on how to use emollient treatments correctly. It offers advice for parents as soon as their child is diagnosed with eczema, or, gives those struggling to manage their child’s condition the help they need to improve treatment outcomes. The program has already seen fantastic results with 9 out of 10 parents saying they feel more in control of their child’s eczema since starting the programme and 81 per cent recording improvement in their child’s eczema symptoms

Enrolment on to the program is completely free and parents can benefit from telephone advice from a trained National Eczema Society nurse. The dedicated website gives parents the tools they need to monitor and check their child’s eczema symptoms along with easy access to advice leaflets, educational videos and testimonials.  Additionally, parents can also seek help and support from other mums and dads faced with the same frustrations and problems in treating their child’s eczema through links to the NES Facebook page.

1 E45 survey in conjunction with the National Eczema Society questioning 171 parents of children with eczema 2012

3 NICE. Atopic eczema in children: Management of atopic eczema in children from birth up to the age of 12 years. CG57 (2007).  Available at

4 RB Data on file. Protocol no. 0913401. 2012