Eczema treatments: bath oils, soap and shampoo replacements

Lots of the young people we talked to had tried:
  • bath oils and emollients (added to a bath)
  • soap and shower gel substitutes/replacements
  • shampoos (medicated and cosmetic)
Bath oils and emollients

Some people had used bath oils and emollients. There were mixed views on these: some people liked bath oils, but others found them too greasy and felt it clogged their skin. Evie tried bath oils but didn’t find them any more helpful than just moisturising. Katie-Lauren and Ele both said that bath oils made their eczema more irritated. Laura’s parents soon realised she was allergic to lanolin when she tried bath oils containing the ingredient.
Soap and shower gel substitutes

Lots of people said that showering every day upset their skin and that some shower gels, soaps and bubble baths made their eczema worse. Some people used shop-bought brands of soap and shower gel which worked well for them. Others had used prescribed soap/shower gel substitutes. Laura and Aisha use their leave-on emollient for also washing with, which meant they got through their prescribed bottles quickly. Some people found that using soap substitutes helped their skin. Others didn’t like soap, shower gel or shampoo substitutes. Sarah found it harder to moisturise after using a shower gel substitute because it felt like there was a layer already on top of her skin. Abid once slipped in the shower because the soap substitute had made the floor greasy. Gary doesn’t use any soap or shower gel at all and says that he finds water is enough to clean his skin.
Having to use the soap in public or shared bathrooms was talked about by a few people. Some people tried to avoid having to use these and carried about small bottles of soap substitute and, for Laura, hand sanitiser.


People with eczema on their scalp often tried medicated shampoos, either prescribed by their doctors or bought from a shop/pharmacy. Alice got one from her GP but didn’t use it because of the smell. Vicky had a medicated tar shampoo. Aman finds that Head&Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo works fine for him. Aisha has tried lots of medicated shampoo but finds mild baby shampoo works best. Himesh has been using a medicated shampoo for a while and can’t remember what ‘normal’ shampoo was like before. Some people found that ‘normal’ shampoo could also irritate eczema on other parts of their body too. This is the case for Laura who moisturises more afterwards to compensate for it.


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