Interview transcription:

We interviewed Dr Penelope Pratsou to learn about eczema and what causes it.

What is eczema, and what causes it?

Penelope Pratsou: Eczema is a very common skin problem here in the UK. About one in five people in the UK have it. Eczema is a type of skin inflammation that is caused by a defective skin barrier. This means that your skin does not retain as much moisture as someone with normal skin and it’s more likely to become irritated and inflamed.

If you have eczema, you might have really dry skin in general, dry, red patches on the skin creases, or thickened patches of skin. In some more severe cases, you can get cracks all over the skin, which result in lots of itching and soreness.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation


Penelope Pratsou: Eczema typically affects children and babies from the age of three or six months old. Luckily, in about eight or nine cases out of ten, children will grow out of their eczema. However, it can persist into adult life. Eczema can be quite debilitating for children and adults who are losing sleep and consequently missing days at school or work. It can result in a loss of confidence, and it can affect your mood quite severely.

If you notice that you have any of the symptoms or conditions that we’ve just discussed, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr Penelope Pratsou. She’ll be able to assess your situation and give you a personalised treatment plan.

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About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.