Eczema flare-ups can be uncomfortable, even painful. For some, it may just be a case of dry skin or mild skin irritation, but for those who suffer from severe eczema, it can get in the way of daily tasks and have a significant impact on their mental health. Eczema is usually seen in patients with a history of eczema, allergies, and/or asthma. If the patient has other family members who have eczema it may be a good idea to discuss it with their family to understand what has worked and what has not. Although everyone is different, this information may give some guidance on potential treatments that may have a higher chance of success.
Being constantly itchy and uncomfortable is not fun. Furthermore, scratching can lead to greater chance of infection. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some things you can do to get a bit of eczema relief.
What Eczema Treatments are Available?
There are many different possible treatments for eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis). For some, it may be as simple as moisturizing regularly. For others, it could take various methods, and a bit of trial and error to get it under control.
Your doctor should be able to advise you on treatment for eczema but if you suffer with severe or persistent eczema, it may be worth seeing a dermatologist for further advice.
Some currently available treatments for eczema include:
- Topical hydrocortisone (a steroid that comes in creams, ointments or lotion)
- Topical corticosteroids
- Phototherapy or light therapy
- Injectables (biologics)
- Wet wrap therapy
- Topical vitamin B-12 cream
- Antihistamines (which can help with sleep as well as itch relief)
Although some of these medications and treatments are available over-the-counter, it’s a good idea to get advice and/or a prescription from your healthcare professional or a dermatology expert before you try any new treatment. Special care must be taken to not get medication into the eyes, as well.
Top Tips for Eczema Relief and Day to Day Management
Even when the condition is well-managed, eczema-prone skin can be vulnerable to occasional flare-ups, which increase depending on the season such as Summer or Fall. As our bodies change over the years, the way we react to treatment may also change. When it comes to controlling the symptoms of eczema, it’s important to think of it as an ongoing process. Creating good daily habits that support your eczema treatment plan is key.
Perfect Your Eczema-Friendly Shower Regime
Dryness is a significant symptom of this skin condition so your daily routines should focus on hydration in order to minimize this.
When taking a bath or shower, use lukewarm water (not hot) and limit your time in the water as much as possible. Use gentle cleansers (look for body washes designed for sensitive skin) and don’t scrub your skin with a loofah or other exfoliants.
Once you are finished, pat your skin dry with a towel (don’t rub). Then apply your eczema relief cream and/or moisturizer when your skin is still damp. Applying moisturizing cream to damp skin will help to trap the moisture in the skin.
Use the Right Skin Care Products
There are thousands—if not millions—of skin care and skin protectant products on the market. From shea butter and glycerin to Gold Bond, Cerave, and Eucerin Eczema Relief. Many of these claim to be hypoallergenic and perfect for sensitive or dry skin. How do you know what’s actually good for your skin and what is clever marketing?
To help you figure out which body cream, hand cream, or toiletries in general are right for you, here’s a list of ingredients and factors to look out for:
- Fragrance-free products
- Products made with colloidal oatmeal or natural oat (like Aveeno)
- Alcohol-free products
- Products free of dyes
- Moisturizers with lipids and ceramides
- Coconut oil (virgin or cold pressed)
- Aloe vera gel
It’s also useful to know the difference between ointments, creams, and lotions. Ointments are usually the most beneficial for eczema-prone skin as they have the highest oil content. Second in line is creams, with lotions having the lowest oil content.
Top tip: If in doubt, look for a product with the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
Track Any Changes to Your Usual Routine
Like most things in life, everyone reacts slightly differently to skin conditions like eczema. Understanding your own body as well as the factors that trigger your flare-ups is key to managing the condition.
The best way to do this is to make a note of things when they occur. For example, if you’re using new toiletries or switching detergents, write down the date and make a note of any changes to your skin over the following days or weeks. Likewise, if you make changes to your diet, it’s worth noting. If you notice that the eczema flares up when your immune system is weakened (for example, when you have a bad cold), jot it down.
Over time, you’ll start to identify the factors that contribute to your flare-ups as well as the habits that are better for your eczema overall.
Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation
Stress is a big trigger for eczema. Although the exact relationship between the two is still being explored, many experts believe that stress causes the body to produce inflammation which is an underlying cause of eczema.
There are many different ways to relax and practice mindfulness such as meditation or massages. Or, if you’d like to combine physical exercise with mindfulness, why not try some gentle yoga? This could be a particularly attractive option for those whose flare-ups are triggered by sweating.
Take Charge of Your Own Skin
As we’ve already mentioned, everyone is different and everyone reacts differently to the various products and treatments for eczema relief. When it comes to managing your eczema, it’s important to take charge of your own treatment plan.
Make note of how effective different treatments and ointments are. Do you react better to steroid-based or steroid-free ointments? Nobody knows your body better than you do so don’t be afraid to speak up if something doesn’t feel right.
It’s also important to be open to new treatments and to try new therapies. New medication and therapies are being developed all the time so it’s important to keep an eye on the latest developments. If you’d like to try something new, talk to your dermatologist or physician about it.
Talk to a Doctor About Managing Eczema
Coping with dry, itchy, and scaly skin day-in and day-out can take its toll on your mental and physical health. The good news is that there are plenty of treatment options available for eczema.
The first step is to speak with a physician who can direct you to the right eczema treatments and therapies. To book a consultation to discuss your eczema with one of our healthcare professionals, click here.
Q. How to Deal With Eczema
Eczema presents differently in every patient. The first step to dealing with eczema is to speak with your physician. They will be able to recommend treatment options and advise you on best at-home practices for eczema management.
Q. How to Manage Eczema
Managing eczema can be a long journey and even when it’s relatively under control, flare-ups can still occur. However, there are many treatment options available, including some over-the-counter ointments and medications. A great way to learn is to discuss with a Babylon physician and get guidance on your options.
- National Eczema Association: Eczema Treatment
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Eczema Treatment
- National Eczema Association: Moisturizer and Lotion for Eczema: Everything You Need to Know
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Efficacy of Colloidal Oatmeal Cream 1% as Add-on Therapy in the Management of Chronic Irritant Hand Eczema: A Double-Blind Study
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.