Atopic eczema easily becomes chronic, or longstanding, in early childhood, partly because of inadequate use of conventional topical treatment, and partly because of habitual scratching. The skin becomes thickened, or lichenified. Chronic eczema is established.
What to do about this dry, rough and thickened skin is usually overlooked in treatment guidelines. Only treatment instructions for acute flare-ups are given. These are treated with emollients or moisturisers, and topical steroids or other anti-inflammatory applications.
Once chronic eczema is present, acute flare-ups can become more frequent and more troublesome. The skin is now more sensitive, more reactive. The flare-ups become less responsive to the usual, recommended topical treatment. This then is understandably used with less enthusiasm, and less attention to recommendations.
More itching and scratching, and more lichenification or thickening of the skin can follow.
The Combined Approach to early childhood atopic eczema deals with this situation. Optimal topical treatment and habit reversal for habitual scratching make an ideal treatment programme that clears up any acute eczema and the chronic eczema, in just a few weeks.
Then the approach of treating acute eczema early and thoroughly with only topical treatment leads to fewer and fewer flare-ups, more and more healthy skin…
.. and extra time for fun!