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Eczema Bulletin, Issue #025 - The Hidden Irritants of Sunscreen
August 22, 2015

Eczema Bulletin, Issue #024 - The Hidden Irritants of Sunscreen

Welcome to August's edition of the Eczema Bulletin e-zine, and thank you for subscribing.

This is the 25th edition of Eczema Bulletin. It will bring you articles and news about eczema, and also any updates to If you would like to add any suggestions for articles or news, or even add your own then I would love to hear from you

You can contact me here

This month's Eczema Bulletin includes

  • August's Featured Article – The Hidden Irritants of Sunscreen
  • My favourite eczema news article
  • Tip of the Month
  • 5 Ways To.....get more Vitamin B

The Hidden Irritants of Sunscreen

Sunscreens are one of the necessities of the summer. They give us protection from the harmful rays of the sun, and save us from painful damaged skin, and potential skin cancer.

Because the majority of sunscreens contain chemicals they can prove problematic for people with sensitive skin. It can be annoying to end up with irritated skin from something that is meant to help your skin.

Sunscreens can contain many different ingredients. This can make it hard to work out which ingredient/s you get a reaction to.

Some of the most common ingredients that may be an issue for eczema and sensitive skin include:

  • Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA). Not used very often now because of its links to contact dermatitis. Padimate A and O, which are related to PABA are now used instead. These can still irritate the skin
  • Benzophenones. They have been used in sunscreens for many years. They are also known to cause skin irritation and may cause the symptoms of an eczema flare up
  • Octocrylene. Has only started being used in sunscreens recently. There are already reports that it can cause contact dermatitis

When looking for a sunscreen for an eczema sufferer look out for a cream which is a ‘physical blocker’. These work by reflecting the UV rays, and are effective at protecting the skin. Two of the most common blocks are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

These sunscreens not only protect against all UV rays, they are safe to use. It’s very rare for them to cause skin irritation. The only downside with them is that they don’t absorb into the skin as well. This is one reason why there are now brightly coloured sunscreens available, as these may look better than a white cream showing.

If you’re trying a new sunscreen always do a skin patch test on a small area of skin before using properly. Also be wary of products that say that they are hypo-allergenic, as they may still contain chemicals that can irritate the skin.

Please let me know about the sunscreens that you use that are effective and good for eczema sufferers, I’d love to share them.

Eczema News Article

It has been reported that a drug that treats rheumatoid arthritis is helping sufferers of moderate to severe eczema. The drug, tofacitinib citrate, stops the immune response that can cause the symptoms of eczema.

A study was done with six patients who had unsuccessfully tried conventional treatments. During the study all the patients said that there was a big decrease in itchiness, which helped them sleep better. Other symptoms like inflammation and thickening of the skin also improved.

More research is definitely needed before this drug can be classed as a new eczema treatment but the first signs are encouraging.

I’ll keep you updated on any progress made or any news about tofacitinib citrate.

Tip Of The Month - How To Apply Treatment To Your Back

As a single woman who gets the occasional patch of eczema on my back, this has been a problem over the last few years. My arms are only so long and I’m definitely not double jointed! So I thought I’d see if I could find some simple ways to get my emollient on to my back.

I came across a few ideas which I thought I’d share.

  • Ready to buy treatment applicators. After doing a bit of research I have found quite a few products you can buy online that will do the job. I can’t recommend any one in particular because I like to save money, and try making my own
  • For the top of the back a wooden spatula with a wash cloth or flannel wrapped around the top will do the job. Attach the wash cloth with elastic bands. Use a soft flannel so it’s not too rough on your skin
  • For something a bit longer you could use a loofah. Attach a flannel the same way you would on a spatula and you’ll be able to easy reach the middle of your back
  • My favourite way is to use a paint roller. One with a long handle could get to all the places that you can’t reach. The roller would be easy to clean, but you can still wrap a wash cloth around it

If you have any inventive ways to apply your cream or ointment to those hard to reach places then please let me know. Even better if you could send a picture or two of your invention.  

Do you have a tip you would like to share? Let me know :)

5 Ways To.......get more Vitamin B

Vitamin B6 and B12 are the best B vitamins for eczema. They can help reduce inflammation and itching. They can also help to lower your stress levels, which can reduce the effect that stress has on your eczema.

Here are 5 ways to get more vitamin B6 and 12.

1. Food. The best way to get more of any of the vitamins is through your food. Great sources of vitamin B6 include fish, liver, chicken and eggs. For vegetarians and vegans, a good choice is chickpeas. Vitamin B12 is found in liver, salmon and tofu. You may of also seen it on the labels of certain breakfast cereals as it is added to certain brands

2. Vitamin B cream. Vitamin B12 cream can be beneficial for all eczema sufferers. It is safe for adults and children to use, and there are no reported side effects from using it. There has been some positive results through research that show that topical cream can help the painful red inflammation associated with eczema. It is definitely best to find a natural product, that doesn’t contain any added ingredients that could cause more harm than good.

3. Supplements. You can buy a complex vitamin B supplement which contains all of the B vitamins. You can also get B6 and B12 separately. It is important to get a good balance of all the B vitamins. If you just need an bit extra of either of the important two it’s good to know the daily recommended amount. For B6 it is 1.4mg a day for men and 1.2mg a day for women. It’s recommended that no more than 10mg is taken daily, unless your doctor says that it is okay. For B12 its 0.0015mg a day. A tiny amount, so it should be east to get from food, but if you decide to use a supplement take no more than 2mg a day.

4. Improve absorption. There are some factors that can affect the amount of B6 and B12 that your body absorbs. If you are a heavy drinker this can decrease the amount of both vitamins that your body actually takes in. Someone who is obese may find themselves deficient in B6. A poor diet can affect the absorption of B12.

5. Get enough calcium. Calcium is necessary for the absorption of B12. By increasing the amount of calcium you get, the more B12 you’ll absorb. Calcium is commonly found in dairy products, including cheese and yoghurt. If you’re vegan some good choices include calcium fortified soy or rice milk, green vegetables and tofu processed with calcium sulphate.

Keeping Up-To-Date With What is Eczema

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The September edition of Eczema Bulletin will include

  • September's Featured Article – Is There A Connection Between Eczema and ADHD
  • My favourite news item of the month
  • Tip of the Month
  • 5 Ways eczema friendly school kit

Hope you enjoyed August's Eczema Bulletin, and thanks for reading


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