HOW TO TREAT ECZEMA
SUMMARY: As there is no definitive eczema cure, the goal of eczema treatments are to manage symptoms of flare-ups and to relieve and prevent itching. Similar to what causes eczema, how to treat eczema can be different for everyone and for different types of eczema. Read more below on how to treat eczema and tips to manage eczema.
TYPES OF ECZEMA TREATMENTS EXPLAINED
Eczema may require treatments and a maintenance routine to manage symptoms. Depending on the severity and type of eczema, your dermatologist will provide the most effective course of treatment. Common solutions for how to treat eczema include:
Bathing & Moisturizing
Eczema prone skin retains less moisture than normal skin, often resulting in dryness. To give the skin the moisture it needs, a combination of bathing and moisturizing may be used1. It is recommended to soak skin in lukewarm water for no more than 10 minutes. After dabbing skin dry with a towel, apply a body moisturizer to lock in moisture. A great way to tell which moisturizers and cleansers are appropriate is to check the National Eczema Association website for a list of qualified products. The Lipikar line of body lotions has been accepted by the National Eczema Association after a thorough review of their ingredients, safety, and efficacy. These body lotions for dry skin and eczema are suitable for the whole family. Lipikar Balm AP+ is suitable for babies even as young as 2 weeks.
Corticosteroids for Eczema Treatment
Your dermatologist may prescribe topical corticosteroid creams to be applied to the affected areas. Corticosteroid creams are a common eczema treatment that have anti-inflammatory properties2. For less severe cases, over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams may be used to help soothe skin and reduce damage from scratching. For the most severe cases, oral or injectable corticosteroids may be administered. These are only recommended for short-term use due to possible side effects.
Wet Wrap Therapy
During severe flare-ups, wet therapy can be used to hydrate and soothe skin. This treatment can be done at home after bathing and moisturizing or medicating. It involves applying damp gauze or clothing to the affected area3.
Light Therapy for Eczema Treatment
If medications do not work for you, there is some evidence to support the use of light therapy, or phototherapy4. This involves exposing the skin to a controlled amount of UVB rays to help calm inflammation and increase levels of vitamin D. This treatment should be administered by a health care professional.
While there is no definitive cause to eczema, it has been linked to an immune system that overacts to certain irritants. Often prescribed for severe eczema that does not respond to topical treatments, immunosuppressants work by lowering the body’s immune system response5. Due to potential side effects, this eczema treatment is typically administered for a short period of time.
1. Don’t scratch your eczema While scratching can temporarily relieve the itchiness associated with eczema, it only makes things worse. Your nails can damage the protective skin barrier, which maintains moisture levels in the skin and protects it against irritants. Telling your child to stop scratching rarely works so dermatologists often recommend keeping their finger nails trimmed short and covering itchy areas with loose fitting, cotton clothing6.
2. Wear cotton Avoid scratchy fabrics such as wool. Instead opt for breathable cotton, which is softer on the skin7.
3. Opt for lukewarm showers Take lukewarm showers and limit them to 10 minutes max. After gently patting your skin with a towel, apply your topical medication or moisturizer to the affected area. Moisturizing after showering helps lock in moisture8. When it comes to your choice of moisturizer, look for formulas such as Lipikar Balm AP+, which is accepted and recognized by the National Eczema Association to be suitable for the care of eczema.
4. Avoid sweating when possible Working out is not off-limits, but it is recommended to shower immediately afterward. Also, opt for looser-fitting, breathable clothing that wicks sweat away from the skin. If you’re experiencing a flare-up, it’s best to opt for low impact workouts with less carious such as yoga or strength training to minimize sweating9.
5. Avoid harsh soaps When cleansing or bathing, avoid harsh soaps, as these may further strip skin of natural moisturizing factors. Use gentle, fragrance free cleansers instead10.
6. Control your environment Allergens such as dust mites may trigger eczema in some cases. Be sure to vacuum and air rooms out regularly to prevent accumulation. If the air in your home is particularly dry, look into purchasing a humidifier11.
Consult your dermatologist for more advice on how to treat eczema and to determine which eczema treatment is best for you.
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