It’s amazing just what a difference a good night’s sleep can make…….Thankfully Issi-May is calming down from her latest eczema flare and sleeping much better so we decided that we would all head down to the coast for the weekend and enjoy the fresh air and tranquillity of Exmouth.
Having three daughters of varying ages (14, 5 and 4) takes some juggling on the entertainment front but thankfully the beach and the outdoors can always accommodate. Bringing this conversation back into the forum of dermatology it also helps us with the issues of eczema and the new visitor in our household – acne…yep my 14 year old has not been omitted from the teenage knock at the door and like many others her age she’s fairly unhappy by this unpleasant intruder.
Eczema and acne are not only inconvenient, painful and difficult to treat (from a patient’s perspective) but also have a major impact on a person’s level of confidence and self-esteem. The skin is a highly visible area of the body and for most of us we are very aware of our appearance and would like to have every possible piece of education available to us that may be able to help us with our treatment or condition. My daughter and I were on the beach making sandcastles with the little ones (fondly known as the ASBO’s) and we were chatting away about spots and different types of creams and potions etc., and she asked me ‘why is it so difficult to get my skin sorted mum’? Like Eczema, Acne is a condition that when classified, ‘moderate’ is completely different to what the person suffering with will see when they look in the mirror.
Working in the field of dermatology I know all of the available treatments for acne (as with eczema) but I am not a medic and I still feel that in the area of dermatology there is still a lack of understanding of the impact of disease and although this is changing it is not changing fast enough. The nursing community are driving this change across primary and secondary care running many clinics within dermatology where they focus on education and how to support the emotional effects of the patient as much as the physical effects on the skin; I hope to see more of these programmes happening across the UK community going forward, they are incredibly successful and they get my vote every time.
However, In the meantime there are new European guidelines for the treatment of acne which are due to be released in the next few weeks; these guidelines will provide a ‘treatment pathway’ from which GPs can/may refer to for their prescribing lead. The guidelines have been evaluated by the leading dermatologists across Europe and have also been ‘open’ online for people to have the opportunity to review and comment on (which was a first time thing – a fantastic step forward for people who have the condition to put their view forward for consideration and inclusion). The purpose of the European guidelines is to provide effective ‘Management’ and a ‘Stepped’ approach to the treatment of Acne.