Treating eczema (allergic dermatitis) and preventing flare-ups

How is eczema treated?

The main goal of eczema treatment is to reduce the risk of attacks through preventative and medical management. There are several types of eczema, and all require specific treatments to relieve symptoms. However, since eczema causes the skin to itch and inflame, the main goal of treatment is to relieve itching and pain.

Other goals of treatment include:

  • Reduce the risk of infection
  • Prevent eczema irritation
  • Preventing the spread or exacerbation of eczema
  • Maintain skin moisture

While over-the-counter or at-home remedies often help treat symptoms of eczema, in more severe cases it may be necessary to visit a dermatologist to learn about your skin care routine and any prescribed medications.

Childhood eczema is a relatively common condition in infants. Although the cause of this condition is unknown, many treatments are similar to those of adults, and it is essential to take your child to a pediatrician or dermatologist as soon as they notice it, so that they can begin treating your child’s eczema and preventing the condition. from deterioration.

Eczema treatment options

Your medical practitioner will tailor your treatment to your specific needs. Your doctor may prescribe different treatments depending on your age and medical history, the type and severity of your eczema. For example, the treatment recommended for ringworm eczema may differ from the treatment prescribed for dyshidrotic eczema.

Some of the most common treatments for eczema include:

  • Hydrocortisone creams and ointments: These are the most common eczema treatments for adults and children. When applied to the skin, it reduces inflammation, redness, heat, itching, and bacteria on the skin.
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitors: This treatment alters the immune system. The two most common types are tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream.
  • PDE4 inhibitors: Crisaborole is a newer but effective addition to the list of topical non-steroidal treatments for people with mild to moderate eczema.
  • Barrier Moisturizing Moisturizers: Available as pastes, ointments, and sprays, they help maintain the skin’s natural barrier, protecting it from irritants and preventing the skin from drying out.
  • Daily warm baths (not hot): Baths can help moisturize the skin and keep it clean. Avoid scrubs. Use a gentle cleanser and moisturize immediately afterwards with an emollient or non-comedogenic moisturizer.
  • Wet dressing or wrapping: This method can help protect the affected area, provide relief and ensure that medicated creams and ointments are absorbed.
  • Anti-itch creams: Sold without a prescription, it may relieve irritation and itching

Although you may get some remedies from a pharmacist, such as antihistamines for itching and skin products that contain moisturizing ceramides, most strong steroid medicines require a prescription.

How to prevent the symptoms of eczema

Although eczema may not always be preventable, there are ways to help manage it and reduce the frequency of its occurrence. How you manage flare-ups will depend on your personal eczema triggers. If you are allergic to food or the environment, for example, avoiding allergens may help control flare-ups of eczema.

Since stress can trigger flare-ups of eczema, it’s also important to try to control your stress levels and get enough sleep. Wearing soft, loose, and breathable cotton or silk fabrics can help prevent breakouts. Avoid heavily scented cosmetics or harsh cleaning or washing products.

Applying moisturizer twice a day right after you shower can keep your skin hydrated. Your dermatologist may suggest a barrier cream that allows your skin to breathe while protecting it. Petroleum jelly can also protect sensitive skin.

Practicing good skin care can help control eczema. Your routine should include using gentle, fragrance-free cleansers, mineral sunscreen, and showering after physical activities to eliminate sweat. There is no evidence that humidifiers help treat eczema, but some people report that they have helped relieve symptoms that can aggravate the humidity.

When do you see a doctor?

See your dermatologist if you have a dry, itchy rash that won’t clear up with topical anti-itch treatments such as hydrocortisone cream, moisturizer, or over-the-counter calamine lotion. A visit to the doctor is especially important if the rash shows signs of infection, such as weeping or crusting and soreness.

Allergies are often the cause of persistent different types of eczema. Your doctor can refer you to an allergist who will perform tests to determine if you have an undiagnosed allergy. Monitoring your activities can help determine what’s causing your eczema flare-ups.

Eczema can be irritating and painful, and can harm your mental and emotional health. However, appropriate treatment can control its symptoms, so that they do not interfere with your daily activities.

Please seek advice from a medical professional before making health care decisions.