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Eczema Fact Sheet

Information sheet

Eczema is a group of skin conditions which can affect all age groups. In the United Kingdom, up to one fifth of all children of school age have eczema, along with about one in twelve of the adult population. The severity of the disease can vary. In mild forms the skin is dry, hot and itchy, whilst in more severe forms it can become broken, raw and bleeding. Although it can sometimes look unpleasant, eczema is not contagious. With treatment the inflammation of eczema can be reduced, though the skin will always be sensitive to flare-ups and need extra care.

The causes of eczema are many and varied, and depend on the particular type of eczema that a person has. Atopic eczema is thought to be a hereditary condition, being genetically linked. It is proposed that people with atopic eczema are sensitive to allergens in the environment which are harmless to others. In atopy there is an excessive reaction by the immune system producing inflamed, irritated and sore skin. Associated atopic conditions include asthma and hayfever.

Other types of eczema are caused by irritants such as chemicals and detergents, allergens such as nickel, and yeast growths. In later years eczema can be caused by a blood circulatory problems in the legs. The causes of certain types of eczema remain to be explained, though links with environmental factors and stress are being explored.

There is currently no cure for eczema though research continues to shed new light on the condition. However, there are many ways to minimise the discomfort and distress which eczema can bring, the foundation of which is an effective skin care routine. A wide range of treatments is available, either over the counter at the pharmacy, or on prescription from a doctor. Many complementary therapies are available, which some people find helpful. In addition, there are ways of minimising environmental allergens commonly found in the home.

Emu oil

Emu oil is a 100% natural remedy that has been used in Aboriginal medicine for centuries. The oil has now become famous around the Globe for its powerful soothing properties and its popularity as one of the most effective natural remedies available is growing quickly.

There have now been several published studies that show emu oil significantly reducing inflammation and swelling with topical application (1-4). In some of these studies it was shown that the application of emu oil to the skin was as effective, or even more so, at reducing inflammation as some commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs.

Emu oil not only adds moisture to the skin, but it also acts to retain it, by providing an effective barrier. Quickly absorbed and easy to apply emu oil is suitable for all skin types and its natural fatty acid make-up is thought to be very similar to that of human skin.


 1. Lopez A, Sims DE, Ablett RF, Skinner RE, Leger LW, Lariviere CM; Jamieson LA, Martinez BJ, Zawadzka GG Effect of emu oil on auricular inflammation induced with croton oil in mice. Am J Vet Res. Dec;1999;60 (12):1558-1561
 2. Whitehouse MW, Turner AG, Davis CKC, Roberts MS Emu Oil(s): A source of non-toxic transdermal anti-inflammatory agents in aboriginal medicine. Inflammopharmacology. March,1998;6(1) 1-8
 3. Snowden JM, Whitehouse MW Anti-inflammatory activity of emu oils in rats. Inflammopharmacology-1997;5(2)127-132
 4. Snowden JM., O'Malley PJ. Ellis TM Emu Oil It's Anti-Inflammatory Properties. A report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, October 1999

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