eczema, emollients, and intimacy

Post your questions regarding mental health and skin conditions here.

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eczematous
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by eczematous on Tue Apr 07, 2020 5:39 am

eczema, emollients, and intimacy

I have severe eczema and very dry skin. I therefore use emollients liberally and frequently all over my body. My sheets and clothing quickly become stained with the grease and particles from the creams that have rubbed off my skin. It is very messy but I know that if I don't maintain this routine, my skin will flare. The problem is my partner has an aversion to oils of all kinds. It is not clear whether his reaction is psychological or physical but his skin gets quite irritated by the oiliness of my skin. Our last discussion of this issue elevated into an argument, which made me depressed and caused an outbreak. Any suggestions for how to handle this, medically or personally (since this forum is about mental health)? I was thinking I might make sure he always covers himself in a sheet that has not touched my skin when we lie down together.

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Ben Choi
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by Ben Choi on Thu Apr 09, 2020 1:02 pm

Re: eczema, emollients, and intimacy

Firstly, well done for talking about this with your partner. Communication is an essential part of working through any relationship issue. Using different sheets may help things. In terms of other everyday changes, you could look at the timing of your application and when you might be in close proximity to your partner. I know it might not be ideal, but it might allow you to take care of your skin and be able to lie down together. For example, could you time things so that your emollient application and when you lie down with your partner are as far away as possible?
Some people do the majority of their skin care in the evenings which might give you more time to let the emollient sink in before dressing or going to bed but this could also be the most likely time you lie down together.
If intimacy is an issue, physical touch is one of many forms of connecting. Working on alternative methods of intimacy together and doing activities like cooking, baking or board games together might help you feel more connected when you have a flareup and need to apply your emollients more often.

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Dr Andrew Thompson
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by Dr Andrew Thompson on Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:09 pm

Re: eczema, emollients, and intimacy

Many skin conditions can have an impact on intimacy and sex and sadly these issues ofton remain hidden because of feelings of embarrassment. I have provided information on one of the other posts about links to IAPT services and on talking therapies that may help you as an individual. However, it might also be worth considering couple counselling (https://www.relate.org.uk/) which could help provide a space for you to other talk together about these issue.

At a nursing/medical level it would also be worth sharing your concerns so that an expert can help consider if there might be other emollients available.

Very best wishes,

Andrew
Dr Andrew Thompson
Registered Clinical and Registered Health Psychologist - DClinPsy., C.Psychol., AFBPsS., DipCAT., FHEA., BA(Hons)

http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... ompson.php

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Dr Alia Ahmed
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by Dr Alia Ahmed on Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:15 pm

Re: eczema, emollients, and intimacy

Thank you for contacting us. Andrew and Ben have made some excellent suggestions. I would like you to consider the following:
1. Try a lotion or cream rather than an ointment at night, as ointments are very greasy. Of course you may need a more greasy formulation, but you could alternate it with a lighter one to reduce that feeling on your skin and the clothes that touch it
2. Eczema is a condition very reliant on creams to repair the skin's barrier. It sounds like you are using them well. It may be possible that your eczema could be better controlled with other treatments (such as phototherapy or oral/injectable medications) that can reduce your reliance on creams long-term. Please consider discussing this with your healthcare provider.
3. In addition to medical treatment for your skin, if you have persistent low mood/other psychological distress and little improvement with talking therapies you may benefit from other medication for this. Please see your GP to discuss further if needed.
I wish you all the very best.
Dr Alia Ahmed
Consultant Dermatologist - BSc MRCP

http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... _ahmed.php

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