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I've suffered from atopic eczema all my life and have a strict routine of moisturising my skin in order to keep it under control. Although I live a normal life now I have experienced real agony and depression to do with this skin condition. Although it is in not immediately life-threatening and actually fairly common in the UK, there is little understanding of it when it comes to people who have it all over the bodies, as I once did. It caused frequent discomfort, infections and scarring throughout my childhood, and an addiction to the itch-scratch cycle which became my only relief during periods of stress.
There is no cure for eczema, but the cause is well-known. Basically it's the same with many allergic reactions: the body's immune system fails to recognise friendly materials or chemicals and 'overreacts' to them, causing the person's skin to dry out and become itchy, sometimes in certain areas, sometimes all over, and sometimes severely enough to cause hospitalisation. These could be chemicals in food, in the air, in materials, dust, animal hairs- anything really, so avoiding the cause(s) is often not possible. It isn't the itching that causes the problem though, it's the scratching which causes broken skin and infection, which is unavoidable - I would spend days at a time breathing deeply and moisturising itchy patches of skin, only to find that I would then scratch unknowingly throughout my sleep. I tried scratch mitts for years but they were not helpful; it is my strict routine that has really allowed me to live a normal life.
As I became older I learned to manage my skin better by attending yoga classes to ease stress, moisturising at least twice a day with prescribed emollients, avoiding soap completely, using only prescribed products such as shower gels and shampoos, and so on. I have managed this way for years with only the occasional flare-up, which usually requires a strong topical dose of corticosteroids to calm the inflammation down (these types of steroids are entirely different to anabolic steroids that athletes might use). Although used for decades now and considered safe in small doses, corticosteroids have their own side effects, mainly in that they thin the skin where they are applied, and they only temporarily ease the eczema by suppressing the immune system. If the skin is not looked after carefully immediately following use of steroids, it can flare up again as soon as the corticosteroid has taken effect.
The point of this review, then, is to look at the benefits of Balneum bath oil. I fell pregnant almost 7 months ago and as my hormones changed my skin also altered in different ways. My usual routine therefore suddenly failed me, and I had a horrendous flare-up while being pregnant. Although my doctor prescribed me strong corticosteroids, I was very reluctant to use them. I knew that he was considering the consequences however of the condition worsening and me getting a skin infection- if that happened, it would require antibiotics and could be harmful to my unborn baby. I took the steroids home with me, but I did manage to avoid using them temporarily while my skin healed a little. But not for long. It flared up again suddenly and I was the most uncomfortable I have ever been- hot, itchy, unable to sleep or rest, red all over, and basically in agony from the soreness, and depressed. I went back to my doctor, but as he was away on holiday I saw a different doctor to my usual one. She looked at my skin and confirmed that it wasn't yet infected. So, she said, I needed to try a different routine to see what my skin would respond to while experiencing hormone changes. She asked me if I had tried Balneum bath oil and I told her that I had always avoided baths at my doctor's advice. She disagreed however with me having showers using the emollients I had been prescribed in the past. (She said: 'water is the enemy of eczema!') Although showering with prescribed creams had once worked for me, my skin was now more sensitive during pregnancy and required something different. She recommended avoiding showers altogether and having baths using Balneum bath oil. I agreed to try it and immediately went to 3 different pharmacies to get hold of it, as the first 2 were out of stock.
When I got home I immediately ran a bath and poured a cap-full of bath oil under the running tap water. The water went milky white and a little bubbly. It also made a bit of a funny smell, but that was nothing major and it wasn't an overly 'medical' smell so it didn't really both me. I got into the bath with little hope of relief, but I was completely surprised at the effects of the oil. Instead of feeling raw and a bit itchy as I used to feel in the shower, I felt moisturised all over even while in the water. I soaked for a good 40 minutes and then towel-dried and moisturised using my usual emollient. My sore red patches had calmed down completely, my skin was no longer inflamed, and I felt good all over. I actually cried with relief at not feeling itchy any more, and I can't thank that doctor enough for recommending this product to me.
Although this medicine may not work for all skin types- eczema is very different for each person who suffers from it- if you suffer from eczema and have not found relief, then I highly recommend getting Balneum bath oil prescribed so that you can try it out. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain: my life is so much better again now that I have this product on hand. It has no known negative effect on pregnant mothers, so I doubt the average body needs to worry about that, though it is important to speak with your doctor about it first, of course. Some people dislike managing their bodies with medicines, but my head flared up once when I used a shampoo with essential oils in it, so it really depends on what your skin needs!
The active ingredients in Balneum bath oil are lauromacrogols and urea: the doctor told me that many people with eczema have less urea on their skin than the average person, so soaking in Balneum can help restore the body's natural balance and barriers. Urea helps the skin to retain moisture.
I have a 500ml bottle of Balneum at home and I use it twice a week now in the bath, and I am still grateful for it despite not having suffered a flare up for several months now.
Eczema is a condition that runs in my family and while I never suffered with it I wasnt surprised when my son started showing signs. He started with small dry patches which we treated with creams but eventually the creams werent enough and the patches were getting bigger, when they started to really itch I decided we needed more treatments and was given Balneum Plus bath oil by my gp.
Eczema, or dermatitis, is a group of skin conditions which can affect all age groups. In the UK, up to a fifth of children who are school age have eczema, along with about one in twelve adults. In mild forms the skin is dry, hot and itchy, whilst in more severe cases the skin can become broken, raw and bleed. Eczema is not contagious and with treatment the inflammation can be reduced, though the skin will always be sensitive to flare-ups and need extra care.
BALNEUM PLUS BATH OIL-
Balneum plus is an oil that you add to your bath to sooth and ease dry itchy skin. It contains Soya oil which is an emollient (moisturiser) the Soya oil helps to replace lost oils in the skin.
The oil forms droplets in the bath water and will thinly coat your skin with a layer of oil. This layer helps stop your skin drying out and makes it feel soft.
The Lauromacrogols are local anaesthetics for the relief of itching associated with eczema, dermatitis and dry skin conditions.
The bottle I received for my son was a 500ml bottle although other sizes are available. The bottle itself is white plastic with an unscrew cap, it has squared edges rather than being a round bottle. The nozzle (when the cap is removed) is very small allowing precise measurements of the oil and preventing over spill. The liquid is thin and cloudy, naturally feels oily on the skin but has no real smell.
HOW TO USE-
Always shake the bottle well to ensure the ingredients are well mixed. Pour the correct dose into the bath water by first measuring the amount you need with the cap, ensuring the water isnt too hot and scalding yourself. Stay in the bath for a minimum of 10 minutes. Do not use additional soaps or bubble baths as they will remove the Balneum from your skin and could also dry the skin out.
If you only have a small affected area you may be able to bathe the area using a bowl/sink of water (this obviously depends on where it is)
When using Balneum in the shower apply the liquid evenly (without dilution) by using a flannel or sponge and then rinse off.
After your bath/shower gently pat yourself dry with a towel, do not rub too hard or you may rub off the oil.
Adult- 1 capful (20ml)
Child or baby- 1/4 capful (5ml)
Partial bath/bowl- 1/8 capful (2.5ml)
Adults and children should use Balneum at least 3 times a week, or more if needed. Daily baths are recommended for babies.
While many of the ingredients below actually mean little to me and my small level of scientific knowledge, it is always best to be sure you have no allergies to the ingredients before trying the product.
Soya Oil, Lauramacrogols, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Propylene Glycol, Perfume Oil.
There are no known harmful effects when the bath oil is used by pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. Always be sure not to have the water too hot when pregnant.
You are able to use this bath oil when using other medicines.
Possible irritation to the skin may arise if allergic to the listed ingredients.
Avoid contact of this medicine with the eyes. If contact with the eyes occurs rinse them with clean cool water.
When using Balneum Plus in the bath or shower take care to avoid slipping, especially when getting in or out, the oil will make the surface of the bath slippery. Remove bath mats before using the oil in the bath otherwise they too will become slippery and unsafe for others to use.
This oil is not a medicine and is not to be taken by mouth.
Keep all medicines and treatments away from children.
Balneum plus bath oil is available in 100ml and 500ml bottles. I was given mine on prescription but prices start from £5.99, you can purchase the oil from online pharmacies as well as on Ebay where you can get a bottle from as little as 99p
The oil leaves a layer on the surface of the bath and it is important to wash down all equipment thoroughly after use.
Do not use the oil past the expiry date on the pack.
A leaflet is provided within the box with details on how to use and what precautions to take.
Ive found since using the oil in my sons baths that his patches have got better, whether its the fact that Ive stopped using other bath products or that the oil is working I dont know, all I can say is since we've started using it things have improved. His eczema is here to stay for a while and I am happy to continue using the oil, while it may leave a scummy layer in the bath I think a little extra cleaning is a fair trade if it makes things better for my little boy, you just have to be sure to clean the bath straight afterwards so it doesn't become stubborn to remove, the oil can also coat their bath toys so you need to wash those aswell.
Ive found the oil easy to use although on occasion have ignored the cap measurement rule and squeezed the oil directly into the bath, i've so far had no adverse effects from doing this. My little boys skin feels really soft after using the oil but he isnt slippery. The itching has definitely eased during mild bouts of his condition.
Occasionally he will get a very sore patch which can often become infected (usually the back of his knees) I still use the oil but it doesn't have the same level of effect that it does on his milder flare ups, it's usually only his steroid crem that stops the itching in these severe cases.
I often bath my 2 children together, its always fun, while my daughter does not suffer with eczema it still leaves her skin soft and has caused her no troubles. The only draw back is the lack of bubbles which everybody loves in a bath, although consdering my little girl spends more time eating the bubbles then playing with them perhaps it's a good thing they're missing.
Id definitely recommend the product but would advise that if you think you have a skin condition that requires this kind of treatment go and see your gp first, its always best to be properly diagnosed and you may be able to have the treatment prescribed, saving you money.
Visit http://www.eczema.org for more information on eczema, dermatitis and other skin conditions and for information on possible causes and treatments, or telephone them on- 020 7281 3553
Balneum Bath Oil contains soya oil / A medicinal bath oil with natural soya oil / Strengthens the balance of the skin and stabilizes the skinãs barrier function / / It is added to the bath water to moisturise dry skin / Balneum Bath Oil works by providing a layer of oil on the surface of the skin to prevent water evaporating from the skin surface / Moisturising bath oils are useful for dry skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis, which get worse when the skin is allowed to dry out / Used regularly, moisturisers and moisturising bath oils help restore the skin's smoothness, softness and flexibility by replacing lost moisture and helping the skin retain moisture / This helps reduce scaling, itching and redness.