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Habit reversal and controlling atopic eczema
Dr Peter Norén asks....
"Do you let your eczema control you, or will you control your eczema?"
Atopic eczema is a common cause of misery in childhood, and increasingly in adulthood too.
It is linked to being atopic, and therefore being prone to getting eczema, asthma and hay fever.
Being atopic is not something you can control.
However atopic eczema can be controlled, and if it is not controlled, it can control you.
Professor Hywel Williams reviewed the situation in his important essay "Acting on the evidence". He identified under-treatment and habitual scratching as two important factors causing chronic atopic eczema.
Once scratching becomes habitual the skin becomes thickened by lichenification. Then topical treatment with emollients and topical steroids can have disappointing results, leading to their inadequate use. The result is chronic atopic eczema - frequent acute flare-ups with the skin never recovering between flare-ups.
The answer is to use The Combined Approach - optimal topical treatment PLUS habit reversal for the habitual scratching.
Within five weeks of determined application of this programme of treatment the skin heals and becomes increasingly resilient and responsive to topical treatment when needed, without any further need for habit reversal.
There then is an important change, from Living With Eczema to Living Without Eczema.
Now, rather than your eczema controlling you, you have learnt to control your eczema.