Denise Van Outen health: Star on her ‘difficult’ condition – eczema


The star, who appears on today’s episode of James Martin’s Saturday Morning show, recently took to his social media to share insight into his battle with eczema and how the disease was “difficult” to manage. The National Eczema Association explains that eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes dry, itchy skin as well as rashes, scaly patches, blisters, and skin infections. There are actually seven different types of eczema to be aware of, including: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis.

Speaking about his own personal experience with the condition, Outen shared this with his 645,000 Instagram followers, “I’ve had eczema for as long as I can remember.

“Before, I thought it was because of the food I ate, but I realized that my eczema mostly appeared when it was cold.

“It flares up pretty badly on my arms, I’ll get dry patches and my skin will crack occasionally if I don’t control it.

“It’s difficult when you have a flare-up and I admit my eczema made me feel self-conscious.”

READ MORE: Susanna Reid’s health: ‘There is no cure’ – presenter on her battle with the ‘bad’ condition

The star went on to say that the condition got so bad at some point that it affected her career.

She said, “Even when I was performing at my cabaret show, I had to modify my costume to have long sleeves to cover it up.”

Eczema can develop at any time in an individual’s life, from childhood to adulthood and can be mild or severe.

Many people with eczema use the term “flare-up” to describe a phase of eczema when they experience one or more acute symptoms.


The NHS explains that symptoms of atopic eczema – the most common type of eczema – can include more than itchy, dry, cracked skin.

For some people, their skin will become inflamed, which means the skin will turn red or gray depending on their skin tone.

It most commonly affects the hands, the inside of the elbows, the backs of the knees, the face, and the scalp.

Many factors can contribute to the development of the skin condition, including an interaction between your environment and your genes.

The National Eczema Association adds, “When an irritant or allergen from outside or inside the body ‘activates’ the immune system, it produces inflammation or a flare-up on the surface of the skin.

“This inflammation causes the symptoms common to most types of eczema.

“There is also a potential genetic component of eczema which includes a protein called ‘filaggrin’ which helps keep your skin moist; Filaggrin deficiency can lead to drier, itchy skin.

In some cases, household items can also be a potential irritant and can cause not only an eczema flare-up, but also an allergic reaction. Common eczema triggers include:

  • Prolonged exposure to dry air, extreme heat or cold
  • Certain types of soap, shampoo, bubble bath, body wash, facial cleansers
  • Laundry detergents and fabric softeners with chemical additives
  • Certain fabrics like wool or polyester in clothing and linens
  • Surface cleaners and disinfectants
  • Natural liquids such as fruit, vegetable and meat juices
  • Fragrances in candles
  • Metals, especially nickel, in jewelry or utensils
  • Formaldehyde, found in household disinfectants, some vaccines, glues and adhesives
  • Isothiazolinone, an antibacterial found in personal care products like baby wipes
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine, which is used to thicken shampoos and lotions
  • Paraphenylenediamine, which is used in leather dyes and temporary tattoos.

Although there is no cure for eczema, there are effective treatments available, which Outen found on her own. In an Instagram post, she added: “I am delighted to be associated with @doublebaseuk, whose research found that three-quarters (74%) of eczema sufferers felt self-conscious about their eczema and 92% of people with eczema said the stress caused by their eczema made it worse.

“I’ve been using @doublebaseuk’s dry skin emollient for about a month and can honestly say the difference to my skin has been amazing.”

Typical treatments for eczema depend on the severity of the condition. The NHS recommends the following to help control symptoms:

  • Self-care techniques, such as reducing scratches and avoiding triggers
  • Emollients (moisturizers) – used daily for dry skin
  • Topical corticosteroids – used to reduce swelling, redness and itching during flare-ups.

Many people with eczema also have success with specific natural and alternative treatments, including cryotherapy, medical-grade honey, meditation, and acupuncture.


Comments are closed.