Effective Ways to Control Eczema
Eczema is an uncomfortable problem in more ways than one, causing both severe itching and embarrassment in some people. Although eczema isn’t curable, it is treatable and manageable. Treatment will make you more comfortable and reduce the number of flares you experience. Eczema is difficult to control, however, so you may need to use multiple treatment methods. Over time, you’ll learn how to treat eczema and which solutions work best for you.
A long soak in warm water will both soothe and moisturize the skin. The water should be warm but not hot, as hot water dries the skin further. Upon exiting the bath tub, remember to use a moisturizing cream or lotion on your body within three minutes. This helps lock in the moisture your skin just absorbed. Many with eczema find adding vinegar, oatmeal or baking soda to their bath extremely soothing. Like baths, showers should be taken in warm water rather than hot. Always use gentle soaps and cleansers that won’t further dry your skin.
Creams and Lotions
Applied directly to the skin. eczema lotions are available over-the-counter and by prescription. Some creams contain corticosteroids to stop the itch. Others contain calcineurin inhibitors. These chemicals interact with your immune system, calming it to prevent your body from attacking its own skin. These products are effective but may require you to limit your exposure to sunlight during use. Antibiotic creams are sometimes prescribed for eczema as well. Antibiotics don’t clear eczema, but they do prevent cracked skin from becoming infected.
There are several eczema medications on the market today. Some are taken orally while others are injected. These medications suppress the immune system and prevent inflammation. Most eczema medications work well, but your doctor is likely to recommend using them for only short periods of time during extreme eczema flares. When used for prolonged periods, these drugs cause serious side effects that are best avoided. Eczema medications are also quite expensive.
Although it’s important to protect your skin from sun damage and sunburns, natural sunlight is beneficial to those with eczema. In order to protect the skin, doctors sometimes recommend phototherapy for eczema. During this treatment, doctors expose the skin to a controlled amount of artificial ultraviolet A and B light. This, in turn, increases the skin’s vitamin D production to keep it healthier. Prolonged light therapy causes the same damage to the skin as too much sunlight, however, so this treatment is not recommended for infants and children.
Those with severe eczema may turn to wet dressings for relief. In this treatment, corticosteroids are applied to the skin and then covered with wet bandages. Though soothing, this treatment option is time-consuming and requires proper technique. As a result, it is typically performed only in hospitals or outpatient clinics by skilled nurses. If this treatment works well for you, ask your doctor to show you the proper technique so you can find eczema relief at home.
A multifaceted approach is usually best when treating eczema flares. Your doctor is the best source of information on treatment options. He can take into account your medical history and conditions to create a personalized eczema management plan for you. With a little help and some experimentation, you’ll learn how to treat eczema in the way that works best for you.