Q: I wondered if you could help. My mum's in her early forties and frequently uses L'Occitane and Liz Earle hand creams but has recently been diagnosed with contact dermatitis. The doctor has given her a steroid cream to use but she'd rather not use it. Do you know of a more natural alternative?
Alison: Obviously you must follow your doctor's advice and a steroid cream is essential. I've used them before to help with eczema flare ups, which sometimes can't be controlled due to something we've touched or even from stress. However, even your doctor will agree that you don't stay on them permanently – you just take a concentrated dose for a few days.
In between using the steroid cream, it's crucial to use non-sodium laureth sulphate hand washes – so one that's non detergent-based like Liz Earle Hand Wash or A'Kin Hand Wash. If your skin is looking a little angry, then the A'Kin Eucalyptus & Tea Tree Hand Wash in this duo acts as an anti-septic too.
Keep using your Liz Earle Hand Cream, which is non mineral oil based. On any dry areas you can use the Liz Earle Super Balm and the Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate. So, on a daily basis in between steroid cream applications, use hand products that are non mineral oil based. Other options for you include Elemis, Liz Earle and A'Kin and you can switch between these ranges as you wish.
L'Occitane Pure Shea Butter would be pure gold for you too, especially when you're having flare ups. It contains no parabens, preservatives or mineral oils and you can use it as a balm, which you may find more comforting.