eczema, Public Health

The Real Cost of Eczema



  • Atopic eczema affects as many as 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults

  • 86% of children and 84% of adults surveyed report interrupted sleep

  • Over a quarter (26%) of carers report 1-2 days absent from school each month


What has eczema cost me?

In terms of financial costs, eczema can be fairly expensive to manage. It’s hard to find products tailored to sensitive skin within an affordable price bracket. Often creams and moisturisers aimed at individuals with eczema are marked up compared to general products. Right now, my go to moisturiser is Aveeno Skin Relief Lotion and at £7 a pop, it all adds up, particularly because I have to moisturise twice a day. However, not everybody would be able to pay that price for a daily moisturiser.

That’s not even taking into account the fact that some of these lotions and creams become unusable if they cause a negative reaction and/or have no effect at all. If I buy a moisturiser that leaves my skin feeling dry, I can’t continue using it nor can I return it. This leads to a fair amount of waste – of product and money.

Currently, the NHS prescription charge is around £9 in the UK. For those who are prescribed medications such as steroid ointments, that adds up depending on the severity of the eczema. In countries like the US where healthcare isn’t free, having a condition like eczema may also cause costs to add up quickly due to repeat doctor and dermatologist appointments.

That’s just the financial side of things.

Having eczema can cost an individual their freedom, comfort, social life and so on. If an individual has a job that involves using certain chemicals or exposed to certain allergens, being prone to eczema can compromise their ability to work. Eczema may also cause depression, anxiety and stress. Patients may experience a severe loss of quality of life due to disturbed sleep – leading to a lack of motivation and productivity.

Personally, my current flare up is making my day-to-day difficult. Not only am I experiencing pain, severe itchiness and flaking, I have to be aware of the risk of infection, particularly now that we’re approaching winter. This means covering my hands where possible due to open cuts from where the skin has cracked. It’s causing stress – which is not ideal given that eczema is often caused by stress to begin with – which makes it worse.

Above all, quality of life is key; disruption to this is the major downside (and cost) of eczema.

Ideally, I’d like to see a comprehensive list of products reviewed and recommended for those individuals currently experience flare-ups and/or mild to severe eczema on a daily basis. It would also be nice to have a tester-based service available, whereby individuals can tests products without having to splurge on them. If it works, it should be available for purchase. If it doesn’t, the individual should not be under any obligation to buy.

However, in a world where commercial interests often come first I can admit that my idea isn’t feasible 🙂

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