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Parents have been advised not to use high street allergy tests to help manage children's eczema under new guidelines published by the government's health watchdog.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) claims that there is 'no evidence' that they are a valuable tool for the management of eczema.

In addition, the guidance recommends that doctors offer children a range of un-perfumed emollients for use while bathing and moisturising and suggests that schools and nurseries should be provided with leave-on emollients.

The guidance states: 'Healthcare professionals should inform children with atopic eczema and their parents or carers that they should use emollients in larger amounts and more often than other treatments.

'Emollients should be used on the whole body, both when the atopic eczema is clear and while using all other treatments.'

The recommendations have been welcomed by the British Association of Dermatologists, which claims emollients are 'a tried and tested part of the treatment of eczema'.

Spokeswoman Nina Goad said: 'Their use is recommended in all guidelines for the treatment of eczema to date, and it is reassuring that their benefit has been recognised in the new guidance.'

Dermatitis (eczema) is the second most common health problem and causes half a million working days to be lost each year, experts have claimed.

According to the British Association of Dermatologists (Bad), only musculo-skeletal problems are more common than dermatitis, which is often triggered by conditions in the workplace.

Spokeswoman Nina Goad revealed: 'Occupational skin disease is very common. In fact, approximately 29 per cent of industrial health problems are contact dermatitis, while many more cases go unreported.'

Ms Goad said that prevention is 'extremely important' and urged employers to take measures to protect their staff.

She also noted that women tend to be less tolerant of the visible symptoms of dermatitis and have therefore traditionally been more likely to seek help.

'However, occupational skin disease affects both men and women, and should not be tolerated as a side effect of a specific job,' the expert concluded.

Research has revealed that a healthy, balanced diet can help to promote good skin, but foods with a high glycaemic index (GI) should be avoided by people suffering from acne.

Acne is a very common skin condition during puberty, but some people find that the problem persists through their late 20s and even into their 30s.

According to Nina Goad, a spokeswoman for the British Association of Dermatologists, certain lifestyle factors can contribute to the problem.

'Recent research suggests that foods with a high glycaemic index (GI) may aggravate acne. A balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and limited processed foods will help to support the body in general, including the skin,' she revealed.

Another lifestyle factor that triggers acne is smoking, according to Ms Goad, who noted that scientists have recently identified a new skin disorder known as 'smoker's acne'.

Commenting on the recent research, she revealed: 'Smokers who had suffered acne in their teens were found to be four times more likely to suffer acne as an adult than non-smokers who also had experienced teenage acne.'