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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What soap, face wash and shampoo should I use if I have eczema?

    Related Topics
    Are there certain types I should use or avoid?
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    Prof Rodney Sinclair

    Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

    Professor Rodney Sinclair is Professor of Dermatology at the University of Melbourne and Director of Epworth Dermatology. He is past-president of the Australasian Society for … View Profile

    If you have eczema it is best to avoid soap and face wash.  You can use a soap substitue such as Dove, Simple or QV bar to wash the armipts and groin, but water alone is enough for the rest of the body. 

    For women who wear make-up, a mild cleanser such as Cetaphil can be used to remove make-up residue at the end of the day.

    Eczema can also occur on the scalp.  If you have eczema on the scalp, a mild tar based shampoo such as T Gel can help, or alternatively anti-dandruff shampoos such as head and Shoulders can be useful. 

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    Dr Anne Halbert

    Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

    Dr Anne Halbert is a paediatric dermatologist in Perth, Western Australia. After completing her dermatology training and becoming a Fellow of the Australasian College of … View Profile

    Avoidance of soap and bubble bath is important as these are very drying. It is best to use aqueous cream for washing or one of the soap free substitutes available from pharmacies. Beware some of the supermarket liquid soaps, which can be just as harsh as a bar of soap. If it lathers well or bubbles up, it is likely to be drying.

    Soap free preparations can also be used as shampoos for babies. For older children there is a pH balanced oatmeal shampoo made by Dermaveen and a gentle shampoo range made by Ego QV. Some older children with itchy, scaly scalps benefit from a tar based shampoo.

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