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Dr Tay noted that itch is the most debilitating symptom for most eczema patients. “Besides causing poor sleep, intense itch also affects performance at work and in school, reducing one’s quality of life.”
There are several medical treatments available for eczema, said Dr Shanna Ng, dermatologist, The Dermatology Practice @ Orchard. Topical steroids and topical non-steroids can help to reduce symptoms like inflammation and swelling while oral antihistamines may alleviate itching. Immunosuppressants and immunomodulating treatments may also be prescribed to inhibit the body’s immune response to allergens like dust or pet fur.
However, relying on oral antihistamines and topical steroids may not suit all eczema patients. “Improper understanding and use of medication may cause side effects in the long run,” said Ms Jianny Tan, a pharmacist in the product development and marketing department at Orendapharma.
She cites how improper use of topical steroids may lead to reactions such as skin atrophy, easy bruising, and in serious cases, topical steroid withdrawal resulting in burning, reddened skin and other symptoms.
Ms Tan added that not all eczema-related skin conditions can be treated with antihistamines: “Sedating antihistamines may help to induce sleep, but they don’t stop eczema flares and may not be effective in treating eczema-related itch.”
According to Ms Tan, Orendapharma’s team of researchers gathered in-depth feedback from dermatologists, who surfaced the difficulty of sourcing an effective, convenient and safe product that eczema sufferers could use on a daily basis for itch relief, especially in hard-to-reach areas such as the scalp, back and legs.
“That’s why we created the AweMed Spray, the first product in the AweMed series, to serve as a temporary reliever for acute itch with its ‘cooling’ effect,” said Ms Tan.
The AweMed team managed to stabilise natural menthol, which targets the body’s cooling receptor, in a liquid formulation without alcohol and harsh solvents, thus creating a product that would target itch while being gentle on skin. Ms Tan said the spray format makes it easy and convenient to apply.
Its cooling formulation is also a boon for eczema patients living in tropical Singapore, where a combination of heat and humidity can adversely affect the skin, she added.
As menthol has a strong cooling sensation, Ms Tan recommends first-time users to spray the AweMed Spray onto their palms and use their fingers to dab the product onto affected areas in order to establish their level of comfort, before spraying it on directly.
A SALVE FOR DAMAGED SKIN