Hope's Relief : an Eczema Story

Welcome to Body and Soul Health Products [who own Hope's Relief] and thank you for your interest in the Hope’s Relief story.

Body and Soul Health Products Pty Ltd headed up by Malcolm Lynch, is a family business, and their valued customers are at the heart of all that they do. Hope's Relief are devoted to natural ingredients and making a positive difference to people’s lives.

Growing up with eczema

As a child, Malcolm suffered from severe eczema for nearly 10 years, and he can fully understand just how it can impact upon your life, and of those around you. His parents tried so many different products, eating programs and specialists in search of relief for his itchy-scratchy skin. Malcolm recalls heading off to school on a regular basis with his legs covered in cream and wrapped up in glad wrap! Malcolm was worried about making scrunching noises as he walked down the corridors. Even to this very day, his parents look back at that time with sadness, and remember the feeling of helplessness as they watched their child try to cope with eczema.

Hope's Relief : devoted to natural and organic ingredients

Yet this experience shaped Malcolm's direction in life, and for that he is truly thankful. Malcolm spent the last thirty years working in the natural products industry, and just loves to see the positive difference quality natural products can make to people’s lives. The Hope’s Relief skin care range embraces this power of nature’s botanicals to get results.

Body and Soul, a Queensland family business

In 2006, Malcolm founded Body and Soul Health Products. The Head Office is on the sunny Gold Coast, Australia. Malcolm and his wife Julie have complementary backgrounds in natural skin care, research and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales. They have also gathered a team of enthusiastic natural health experts that share their values and commitment to making a positive difference.

You say eczema and itchy dry skin—we say Hope’s Relief!

Hope’s Relief Premium Eczema Cream is formulated with natural and organic ingredients. It works!

The Hope's Relief Premium Eczema Cream was originally created to help a mother’s daughter that had eczema. The formula took over two years of research and trials in a naturopath’s clinic to arrive at the current formulation. The initial request was for a product with natural ingredients and no steroids to help relieve the symptoms of eczema. Soon the results with the daughter led to the Hope's Relief Premium Eczema Cream being offered to other people with eczema and psoriasis to try.

Customers soon raved about the results, and word soon spread. More and more people used the Hope's Relief Eczema product and got results —and the rest as they say is history. The Eczema cream is now available throughout Australia and New Zealand in over 5000 pharmacies and health food stores.

After suffering so long as a child, Malcolm just wanted to see this eczema cream product help as many people as possible, so they brought this formula under the Body and Soul Health products umbrella and launched it to market Australia-wide. Not knowing that the Hope's Relief Eczema cream would also attract worldwide international attention.

Word of the Hope’s Relief premium eczema cream even spread overseas and it is now available in over 10 countries. How this network came about was simple —international visitors tried the eczema cream, got results and loved it so much they wanted to share the eczema cream with their home countries.

The success of Hope’s Relief Premium Eczema Cream has enabled them to expand the range to seven complementary quality natural products: an all over body and face moisturiser, body wash, cleansing bars and scalp care. Hope's Relief focus is on products that not only relieve, but are natural, non-toxic and skin-friendly, especially for skin challenges, eg. Eczema.

The Hope's Relief mission is to share the benefits of naturally active ingredients with as many people as they can. One of Hope's Relief greatest joys is receiving letters or emails and photos from parents emotionally telling them how Hope’s Relief eczema products have helped their babies or children. This is something very close to their own hearts.

Hope's Relief : NATURAL SKINCARE : Ingredients

Hope's Relief believe in natural ingredients and making a positive difference to people’s lives.

The Hope’s Relief natural skincare range embraces the power of nature’s botanicals for their nourishing benefits. Hope's Relief skincare products contain natural ingredients, can be used on sensitive skin, do not irritate or inflame and contain no nasty ingredients. Hope's Relief only use palm oil which is certified sustainable in their natural products.

Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis? Hope's Relief developed Hope’s Relief Premium Eczema Cream to help people with dry skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, itchy and sensitive skin. Their therapeutic product Hope’s Relief Premium Eczema Cream is cortisone-free, has 300mg/g of active ingredients, and is ideal for babies to adults.

Dry, itchy and sensitive skin? Hope's Relief nutritional range helps to soothe and hydrate dry skin and scalp, and is suitable for all ages.

Hope's Relief Moisturising Lotion is the ultimate in natural hydration, with mango, shea and cocoa butters that melt in to leave your skin feeling nourished.

Hope’s Relief cleansing products [Body Wash, Soap Free Cleansing Bar, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter & Goat’s Milk Soap] are all formulated to gently clean without stripping moisture from the skin, and contain no nasty irritants.

Hope's Relief scalp care range, Shampoo and Hair Conditioner, targets itchy flaky scalps at the source without stripping oils and moisture, and is formulated with medical grade manuka honey NPA10+.

Hope's Relief : Free from nasties!

Hope's Relief quality natural skincare products are natural, non-toxic and skin-friendly. No nasties! Hope’s Relief skin and scalp care is free from:

* steroids * paraffin * parabens * petrochemicals * sodium laurel sulphate SLS * perfume * artificial colours * coal tar * lanolin * mineral oil

Hope's Relief biodegradable products are alkaline-free and pH-balanced with recyclable packaging.

Hope's Relief : The power of nature’s botanicals

MANUKA HONEY NPA10+ Medical Grade Manuka Honey nourishes and rejuvenates dry, sensitive, eczema-prone skin. It has antibacterial and high antioxidant properties. CALENDULA anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It has high amounts of flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants that protect cells from being damaged by unstable molecules called free radicals. Calendula has been traditionally used to fight inflammation, viruses, and bacteria. COLLODIAL OATMEAL Contains beta-glucan that forms a fine film on your skin as well as penetrates deep to provide much needed deep moisturising to your skin. Enhances wound healing, improves collagen deposition and activation of immune cells within the skin. KAKADU PLUM Native to Australia. Labelled a “Superfood” has the highest Vitamin C concentration of any food in the world. Contains over 100 times the concentration of Vitamin C of blueberries and oranges. The fruits contain large amounts of trace minerals and antioxidants that nourish and invigorate the skin, including vitamin E, zinc, iron, folate, lutein, and the aforementioned vitamin C. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E are especially important for skin health because they neutralise cell-damaging free radicals. Age-old antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent. LICORICE ROOT demulcent and anti-inflammatory agents. MANGO BUTTER Mango butter is the goddess of natural ingredients and crammed with skin-loving nutrients: Essential fatty acids restore lipid levels in dry and sensitive skin to hydrate, soften and smooth and provide a protective barrier to keep moisture in and irritants out. Natural retinol stimulates collagen and elastin production for skin repair. Powerful antioxidants called polyphenols protect and repair skin from environmental damage. SHEA BUTTER rich in vitamins A and E for antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory actions. COCOA BUTTER anti-oxidant rich and melts on contact with the skin, helping to penetrate with antioxidants, as well as act as an emollient to lock in moisture and protect skin from the harsh elements of the environment. OLIVE BUTTER nourishes and softens dry skin and reduces skin irritation. GOTU KOLA assists collagen formation, strengthens and supports skin. GRAPESEED powerful antioxidant to repair and protect skin cells. ROSE HIP OIL vitamins A, C and essential fatty acids for hydration and improved skin tone. JOJOBA with a composition similar to human sebum, helps dry skin to behave like healthy skin. CHAMOMILE This calming ingredient contains acidic, essential oils and flavanoids known to have anti-allergenic properties. ALOE VERA Nature’s miracle plant which penetrates every layer of the skin releasing moisture and hydration into the skin. EVENING PRIMROSE OIL Calms the skin, reduces redness, soothes irritation and reduces inflammation. BORAGE OIL Also known as Star Flower Oil and Liquid Gold, this is the richest known source of gamma-linolenic acid for treatment of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. TEA TREE OIL Antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. GLYCERIN (Vegetable base) Glycerin is used as it is a humectant, a substance that draws moisture into the skin and enhances the delivery of the active ingredients within the formula. VITAMIN E Containing free radicals that help to protect cell membranes, nourishing dry skin. VITAMIN B5 Vitamin B5 is known to speed wound healing, making it ideal in promoting skin regeneration. LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL Anti-inflammatory properties assist in speeding up the wound healing process. OAT OIL An excellent source of antioxidants and able to deeply nourish and penetrate damaged skin. SEA BUCKTHORN For intense hydration Sea Buckthorn boasts the main moisturising essential fatty acid Omega 7 Palmitoleic acid. Palmitoleic acid is a natural component of skin. The concentration of Omega-7 in Sea Buckthorn is up to 40%, over twice that of macadamia oil. MARSHMALLOW Marshmallow minimises irritation as well as improving wound healing processes and encouraging skin moisture levels. GREEN TEA Reduces inflammation and is a source of antioxidants. ABYSSINIAN OIL Natural, light-weight seed oil containing a high level of unsaturated fatty acids to give skin a smooth texture. COCONUT OIL Soothes skin and retains the skin’s moisture content to give skin a smooth texture.

LIVING WITH ECZEMA : Hope's Relief Eczema Help

IMPORTANT: The purpose of this page is to provide information on skin conditions, not to provide medical advice. Content was sourced from The Eczema Association of Australasia Inc. Information on this page are provided for the benefit of site users and do not constitute medical advice, an endorsement of any other organisation/company or of their products or treatments. Hope’s Relief would like to thank The Eczema Association of Australasia Inc for permission to reproduce copyrighted material.

What is eczema? Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a recurring, non-infectious, inflammatory skin condition. It affects one in three Australians at some stage throughout their lives. It is most common in people with a family history of an atopic disorder, including asthma or hay fever.

Atopic eczema is the most common form of the disease among Australians. The skin becomes red, dry, itchy and scaly, and in severe cases, may weep, bleed and crust over, causing the sufferer much discomfort. Sometimes the skin may become infected. The condition can also flare and subside for no apparent reason.

What are the symptoms?

* Moderate-to-severely itching skin. * Rash. * Dry, red, patchy or cracked skin. * Skin weeping watery fluid. * Rough, leathery, thickened skin.

What causes eczema? The exact cause is unknown. It appears to be linked to the these triggers:

Internal triggers

* A family history of eczema, asthma or hay fever (the strongest predictor): if both parents have eczema, there is an 80 per cent chance that their children may also develop eczema. * Some foods and alcohol: dairy and wheat products, citrus fruits, eggs, nuts, seafood, chemical food additives, preservatives and colourings. * Stress.

External triggers:

* Irritants: tobacco smoke, chemicals, weather (hot and humid or cold and dry conditions) and air conditioning or overheating. * Allergens: house dust mites, moulds, grasses, plant pollens, foods, pets and clothing, soaps, shampoos and washing.

How can the symptoms of eczema be relieved?

According to the Eczema Association of Australasia Inc, there are a number of ways symptoms can be reduced for both children and adults.

* Learn your eczema triggers and how to avoid them. * Stress less! * Develop and maintain a daily skin routine. * Look for skincare products that contain natural ingredients, can be used on sensitive skin, do not irritate or inflame and contain no nasty ingredients. * Keep fingernails short to prevent scratching from breaking the skin. * Avoid rapid changes of temperature. * Have lukewarm baths and showers. * Gently pat, not rub, your skin dry with a soft towel. * Apply moisturiser within three minutes after bathing to lock in the moisture. * Use hypoallergenic products and avoid anything perfumed. * Wear cotton mitts or gloves at night. * Avoid rough, scratchy synthetic fibres and tight clothing. * Use rubber gloves with cotton liners. * Eliminate dust mites in your home. * Use sensitive skin washing powders and detergents.

Who suffers from eczema?

Infantile eczema usually starts in the first 6 months of life and symptoms include a red itchy rash and dry skin. Infantile eczema usually improves significantly between the ages of 2 to 5 years.

Childhood eczema may follow or can start for the first time between the ages of 2 to 4 years. The rash and dryness are usually found in the creases of the elbows, behind the knees, across the ankles and may also involve the face, ears and neck. This form of eczema usually improves with age. Although some children will completely outgrow their eczema, most will continue to have the tendency for dry and sensitive skin into adulthood.

Adult eczema is similar to that of older children with areas of very dry, itchy, reddened skin at the elbow creases, wrists, neck, ankles and behind the knees. Skin may also have weeping areas.

Although the condition tends to improve in middle life and is unusual in the elderly, it can still occur.

Article from: The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, 2013.

Hope's Relief : Caring for your baby: CARING IS MORE THAN SKIN DEEP

IMPORTANT: The purpose of this page is to provide information on skin conditions, not to provide medical advice. Content was sourced from The Eczema Association of Australasia Inc and Hope’s Relief product information sheets. Suggestions on this page are provided for the benefit of site users and do not constitute medical advice, an endorsement of any other organisation/company or of their products or treatments.

Baby skin care You may also be surprised to find that many products out there marketed as ‘mild’ or ‘baby’ formulas, are not mild or suitable for baby use at all. Such products have irritating ingredients such as: petroleum based oils, synthetic fragrances, as well as other nasties such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate SLS, one of the harshest surfactants in existence!

Many adults may not realise that their eczema could have been linked to infant use of soaps with high pH. It was not your parents’ fault, however, since soaps with pH 10 have been around since the 1950s, and are still available for purchase at any local store. The modern consumer now needs to educate themselves to know the difference with newer cleansing technologies.

The Eczema Association of Australia suggests an unscented/aroma free natural moisturising lotion or cream to help combat existing dry skin conditions as the skin needs to be kept hydrated.

Nothing extra is needed, aside from a gentle wash product, a simple skin moisturiser and perhaps a natural massage oil. If parents wish to introduce other kinds of personal care, including aromatic products, seek out a quality product that once again, has been specifically formulated for babies and check ingredient lists for the main ingredients. Avoid anything that appears to be formulated using mostly synthetics. Natural baby skin care products are kind to your baby’s precious skin.

Top questions parents ask at pharmacies

Pharmacies are often the first port of call for parents seeking both advice and quality products to suit their new baby’s individual skincare needs. Following are some of the most frequently asked questions, with suggested responses, all aimed at educating pharmacy staff. This information can be used to equip new parents with enough knowledge to facilitate a more informed decision making process when it comes to choosing personal care products for their baby.

Does using skincare products actually provide any benefits to my baby’s skin?

The skin is a living, breathing and permeable surface which boasts the number one ranking as our body’s largest organ. The skin’s main function is to act as a barrier, from infection and absorption of toxins, as well as to prevent the loss of fluids.

Babies actually require very little in the way of skincare products for the first few months of life. Some studies conducted in the UK found that the skin of a newborn baby should be left to develop naturally, even when it appears to be dry, for at least the first important several weeks of life. The use of water only for this period of time was recommended as an outcome. A gradual introduction of gentle, natural-based product which is free from fragrant oils and that has been specifically developed for babies could then follow.

If eczema or dry skin is already present, it is important to keep the skin from being dehydrated any further, which will cause cracking, irritation and sometimes itching which can be worrisome for parents and cause discomfort to all involved. But young babies and new parents will both benefit from adopting a simple approach to baby’s personal care requirements.

My baby has sensitive skin [this question could include that the baby has dry, irritated or eczema prone skin]. Are there any ingredients I should avoid when choosing bathing and skincare products for my child? Many parents fail to realise the importance of correctly choosing baby products to suit their child’s needs. Taking care to avoid products that contain ingredients commonly linked to skin irritations is paramount. Culprits include artificial colours, perfumes [particularly synthetic], some preservatives, petro-chemicals and some surfactants [ingredients that cause a product to foam] such as sodium lauryl SLS or laureth sulphate and cocoamphodiacetate to name a few.

Don’t be confused by the word “natural” or other label claims merely aimed to attract unassuming shoppers. Some manufacturers of so-called “natural” products still use strong preservative systems, foaming agents and even oils, for example peanut oil, in their formulations which may be linked to allergies in susceptible infants and young children.

Look for natural skincare products that contain natural ingredients, can be used on baby’s sensitive skin, do not irritate or inflame and contain no nasty ingredients.

While those with an existing family history of allergies and/or sensitivities are of course most at risk, it makes good sense to avoid as many of the ingredients thought to be linked to irritation as possible. Preferably, encourage parents to seek out products that contain a short list of natural or naturally derived ingredients, produced by organisations that are well known for their work in the area of natural baby care specifically. Having a great range of women’s face cream doesn’t automatically qualify a brand as being the best choice in baby care, simply because they decide to develop a new baby skin care range.

What is ‘soap free’? Does a ‘soap-free’ product clean baby’s skin effectively?

Soap is made of a compound of natural oils or fats with sodium hydroxide or another strong alkaline solution, and is used as a surfactant for washing, bathing and cleaning. Chemicals and additives used in some soaps to “clean” irritate and aggravate already sensitive skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Normal soaps are high alkaline which can strip moisture and oil from your skin. This dries out the skin, affects the skin barrier and further irritates sensitive skin.

Soap free products are made without the combination of fats and alkaline products, and are ideally ph-balanced to 5.5, the same as skin, containing no fragrances, no chemicals and no irritants. A gentle emulsification ensures moisture and oils aren’t stripped from the skin, yet still cleans baby’s skin effectively.

Normal skin has the balance of moisture and oils and is slightly acidic at 4.5 – 5.7 pH. A lot of soaps have a pH of 9-12. This can affect the skins barrier function. Choose products balanced to 5.5pH the same as skin to help maintain moisture and oils.

There appears to be some confusion in general, over the use of the words ‘soap free’. The word ‘soap’ is generally used to describe a solid bar used for cleansing. Liquid foaming or ‘wash’ products simply don’t contain the same ingredients as a solid bar of soap. A bar of soap is generally made from animal fats (or vegetable oils in the case of manufacturers who choose natural ingredients) and a lye solution made of caustic soda and water. The reaction between the oils/fats and lye neutralisers the caustic soda. For those who are sensitive to soaps, it is more likely to be the fats or oil, the preservatives, fragrances or colours added rather than the lye solution or caustic soda component.

For a product to foam/create bubbles or ‘froth’ it needs to contain a surfactant (surface active agent), which bonds water to grime (i.e. the skin’s natural oil) and washes away, thus providing a ‘cleansing’ action on the skin.

All foaming (bubbling, frothing, lathering) products still actually use a detergent base of some kind to create this reaction. Suggesting parents check the ingredients list of a product and make their judgement this way may be a better alternative.

Is fragrance harmful to my baby’s skin?

For young babies, smell is the first of the senses to develop and in fact newborns are able to recognise their own mother’s scent within a few hours of birth. If left to rest on their mother after being born, a new baby is able to crawl instinctively toward the breast using only the scent of its mother’s milk as a guide.

The introduction of artificial perfumes on mother’s skin during birthing can therefore confuse baby’s sense of smell at this important time. The use of any aromatic product on baby around this time can cause a loss of distinction between mother’s smell and the new, introduced smell.

Fragrance or aroma of any kind can cause problems for some individuals. Some fragrances are in a base of alcohol or synthetic soluble liquid which in themselves can cause sensitivities. Natural aromas from pure, therapeutic-grade essentials oils appear to be less irritating than their synthetic counterparts; however it is advisable to avoid products with artificial fragrance or perfume as well as those with non-therapeutic, aromatic or ‘essential’ oils early on.

How do you tell the difference between natural and synthetic fragrance?

A high quality pure essential oil is generally listed on the ingredient list of your product, accompanied by a Latin name (botanical name) in brackets, which describes the specific type of plant used to extract the oil, for example, some oils with the same common name are derived from different plant species, each with different therapeutic properties and different botanical names. This is the case with lavender, for example, which is sometimes substituted by lavandin, a less expensive, more camphorous oil. Another example is chamomile, which can be either the deep blue, chamazulene-rich German variety (matricaria recutita) or Roman (anthemis nobilis). The use of botanical names is not, however, always a hard and fast rule. A guide may be to first determine how much the company producing the product specialises in baby care and/or aromatherapy.

The addition of a gentle, true aromatherapy-based cleansing product to the bath water for older children may enhance their bathing experience and help soothe irritated, cranky members of the household by encouraging relaxation. Parents should refrain from using their own bath products when baby or young children are joining them in the tub as these may be too harsh for delicate, younger skin.

Are there any early signs of allergies I should be aware of?

If baby’s skin begins to show early signs of irritation including redness or drying, it’s best to suggest parents check ingredient lists on their baby product for the possible causes and discontinue use at least temporarily. Parents can give baby’s skin a product free day every second day and then use the product again. A ‘patch test’ is another good way to ensure the product parents are using is not causing the irritation. Simply rub a small amount of the product onto the skin inside baby’s wrist or in the elbow crease and leave for a further 24 hours. If no irritation develops it should be suitable to continue using. Once again, suggest that parents take extra care if there is a family history of skin sensitivities or allergies.

How can I stop my baby from scratching his/her eczema?

When you think about eczema you feel like scratching. When you have eczema, the hardest thing to do is to stop scratching. There are times when you simply forget about this and you wake up scratching your skin really hard. But imagine you are a child. Stopping your infant from scratching their eczema can really be a problem.

The most important aspect we will deal with is hygiene. Good hygiene is a must when dealing with eczema, which can be easily worsen by bacteria. If you don’t have good hygiene, then I must say it will be difficult neutralising eczema. Good hygiene can be difficult when dealing with infants as they have a tendency to touch, and taste, anything in their way.

Here are some tips on how to keep your infants from scratching their eczema:

* Since heat is known to worsen eczema, you could try to keep your body at a lower temperature. * Also, it is advisable to avoid fragrance products, such as soap. Non-fragrance / unscented skin care products are specially designed not to irritate the skin more. * Pay attention to allergies. For example, in some cases, grooming your pet can worsen eczema. Other common allergens are moulds, dust, grass pollens, animal fur, etc.

Typical Baby Rashes:

Cradle cap Thick, yellow, crusty or greasy patches on a baby’s scalp. It is a form of scalp psoriasis.

Nappy rash Red and inflamed rash, from prolonged exposure to faecal matter and urine when nappies have not been changed regularly enough.

Milia Small white bumps on the nose, chin or cheeks. Usually disappears in a few weeks on its own. Best to wash baby’s face with water or non-irritating soap.

Baby eczema Patches of red, scaly, itchy skin with occasional pus and crusting. Baby eczema may occur due to exposure to irritating substances such as bubble baths or rough fabrics. Baby eczema may also be a symptom of a food allergy.


What is psoriasis? Psoriasis a skin disease marked by red, itchy, scaly patches. It is not contagious.

According to the Australasian College of Dermatologists, about 50% of people affected with psoriasis have changes to their nails and about 25% of people have pain, swelling and tenderness of their joints. The College defines psoriasis as a lifelong skin condition characterised by the development of red scaly areas of skin.

What are the symptoms? * red scaly areas of skin. * itchiness and flaking of the skin. * changes to nails, making them more brittle. * pain, swelling and tenderness of joints.

Who suffers from psoriasis?

Psoriasis can develop at any age. It usually starts in young adults in their early 30s, with 75% of affected people developing psoriasis before the age of 45 years.

Psoriasis is more common in people who have relatives with psoriasis. Psoriasis affects all racial groups and affects about 2% of people worldwide.

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. The Australasian College of Dermatologists website states:

“It is thought that psoriasis develops in people who have an inherited tendency for the immune system in their skin to react abnormally to certain environmental conditions.”

Psoriasis may be triggered for the first time by infections such as streptococcal tonsillitis, HIV and other viral infections. It can also be triggered by bysevere emotional stress. Smoking and excessive alcohol intake may worsen the condition. Some medications may trigger psoriasis or cause psoriasis to become more severe. Source: The Australasian College of Dermatologists, Psoriasis, accessed 16 July 2015.

How can the Psoriasis symptoms be relieved?

These are some general environmental measures stated on The Australasian College of Dermatologists website:

* Apply moisturiser to all of the skin every day. It is important to maintain skin hydration and barrier function. * Stop smoking. * Avoid excessive alcohol intake. * Avoid excess weight gain. * Improve your diet and exercise regularly for good health.


What is dermatitis?

Dermatitis is a very common itchy red skin rash with a variety of types and causes [some dermatitis types are also called eczema]. It is common for a person with dermatitis to have more than one type, either at the same time, or at different times in their lives. Contact dermatitis arises from a chemical in contact with the skin, which may cause either irritant or allergic dermatitis.

What are the symptoms of dermatitis?

* Cracked skin. * Red skin. * Blistered skin. * Thickened skin. * Dry skin.

What causes dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes into contact with something that causes it to become red and inflamed (known as an inflammatory reaction).

There are two different types of contact dermatitis:

Allergic contact dermatitis this is caused by an allergen and it will continue to cause inflammation of your skin each time you come into contact with it.

Irritant contact dermatitis this is when an irritant causes damage to your skin, resulting in inflammation. It can happen when you are exposed to irritants for long periods of time.

How can the symptoms of dermatitis be relieved?

Try to avoid your trigger factor if you know what it is. This is the substance or material that you suspect may be causing your contact dermatitis: for example make-up, skin lotions, jewellery or certain fabrics. Clean away any dust and vacuum your carpets regularly and try to make sure that mould and mildew don’t build up.

If the trigger factors are unavoidable, you should take steps to protect any exposed skin. Try to wear protective clothing to minimise contact: for example using gloves when washing up or using cleaning products.

If you come into contact with your dermatitis irritants or allergens at work, you should tell your employer so they can help reduce any contact you have with it. Prevent your skin from getting too dry. You may find daily moisturisers (emollient creams) can help. You should put these on after your skin has been wet, such as after washing up, showering or swimming. Avoid extreme changes in heat or cold and humidity.

Try not to scratch the affected skin and keep your nails short so you do not accidentally scratch yourself and break the skin.

Your pharmacist may be able to recommend products that can help with dry, itchy or sore skin.


What causes an itchy scalp?

An itching sensation on the scalp occurs because of excessive scalp flaking. A common misconception is that an itchy scalp is too dry; this is not always the case. Itching can occur when there is excessive oily build-up on the scalp. It also happens when your scalp is sensitive to shampoos or hair conditioners with harsh cleansers or synthetic fragrances.

How can I care for an itchy scalp?

Clean your scalp thoroughly, but avoid drying it out by using soap free pH balanced natural hair care products. To get results, you really need to use a formula that targets and nourishes itchy flaky scalps while still cleansing your hair. Avoid exposure to any suspected irritants and allergens. Use warm, never hot, water. Keep stress levels under control. Shampoo your hair after you’ve been sweating heavily, as sweat can be a trigger.

Finding the right scalp hair care products for your family can be a challenge. You need to find a formula that nourishes itchy flaky scalps while still cleansing dirt and grime effectively.

Eczema and dermatitis of the scalp.

One of the most common places for the inflamed, itchy, dry skin of eczema to develop is on the scalp. The most common type of scalp eczema is known as seborrheic dermatitis, and its most unwelcome symptom is dandruff. Scalp eczema is characterised by skin patches that may be:

* Red and scaly. * Flaky. * Greasy or waxy. * Very itchy. * Oozing or have weeping lesions. * Producing blisters.

What is dandruff?

Dandruff is characterised by excessive flakes of dead skin cells, with a bit of itching. When the scalp environment has an imbalance of sweat and oil secretions, dandruff occurs. Often there are also micro-organisms—bacteria or fungus—involved with these imbalances, causing even more rapid shedding of skin flakes.

What are the symptoms of dandruff?

* The hallmark sign of dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp, is white flakes on the scalp and in the hair. * Scalp may feel itchy, tight and/or sore. * Red, flaky, greasy patches of skin [adults, seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp in adults]. * Crusting and scaling rash on scalp [babies with Seborrheic dermatitis, or cradle cap].

How does dry skin create dandruff?

Healthy scalp structure is similar to the rest of body skin, with epidermal, dermal and subcutis layers. Normal scalp skin is slightly tougher than body skin; which is why it is able to tolerate certain chemicals. On dry scalps, however, the structure of the skin cells is not tough enough to tolerate chemicals.

The sebaceous glands in the dermal layer are responsible for the oiliness or dryness of scalps. If too much sebum is being produced, then it has the oily effect. If too little sebum is produced, then it leads to scalp dryness. A normal level of sebum is intended to lubricate the hair and scalp to provide a protective, nourished barrier from external infections. Chemicals in shampoos and conditioners tend to wash away too much sebum and causes scalp dryness.

The epidermis functions the same as the rest of body skin. There is inevitably a layer of dead skin cells, however in normal rate of cell turnover, it appears smooth to the naked eye and does not cause any itching. When there is excessive cell turnover, the dead skin cells accumulate and cause large flakes of tightly packed dead cells, often with itching sensation. Also, when the scalp is not nourished or moisturised, excessive ‘dying off’ of skin cells can occur due to dehydration.

Psoriasis of the scalp.

Scalp psoriasis is when the skin cells on the scalp are being produced faster than normal.

As new cells rise through the layers of dermis and epidermis, raised red patches are formed, known as plaques. The excessive rapid development of skin cells causes silvery, dead scales to cluster together on top of the plaques. This condition can affect anyone at any age. The hairline, back of the neck and behind the ears are the areas most commonly affected by scalp psoriasis.

Causes for may vary between an inflammatory response, genetic predisposition, or oftentimes, due to fungal or yeast infections such as Malassezia.

Fungus and the scalp

Malassezia is a type of fungus most commonly associated with seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp. Malassezia likes to feed off the oily sebum produced by sebaceous glands in the dermal layer of the scalp. This causes further irritation, inflammation and red, itchy patches of flaking skin. It is a vicious cycle as the sebaceous glands then attempt to produce more sebum to protect itself, which the Malassezia continues to feed off.

Itching and redness occurs as the blood capillaries in the dermal layer are trying so hard to increase the immune response and create more cells in the epidermal layer for protection; resulting in the rapid rate of cell-turnover and large flakes of dead skin cells accumulating on the outermost layer of the scalp.

The purpose of this page is to provide information on skin conditions, not to provide medical advice. Content was sourced from The Eczema Association of Australasia Inc and Hope’s Relief product information sheets. Suggestions on this page are provided for the benefit of site users and do not constitute medical advice, an endorsement of any other organisation/company or of their products or treatments.

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