Happy Holidays from your Utah skin care professional!
We’ve seen quite a few cases of eczema during the holiday season due to the change in air condition and temperature.
How to Treat Eczema
There are several options for eczema or atopic dermatitis treatment.
We recommend an eczema treatment plan based on several variables including:
- the type or cause of your eczema
- the location of the rash (face vs. knee)
- the severity of eczema and its impact
- the duration of symptoms (acute vs. chronic). Long-lasting symptoms may require more potent eczema medications.
- Results from previous treatments
- Your personal preferences
The goals of eczema treatment are to heal the skin, prevent new flare-ups, and reduce the urge to scratch, which can lead to even greater problems.
Eczema treatment may need to be sustained for many months to bring it under control, and eczema treatments often need to be repeated.
There are a variety of eczema medications available. These can be categorized as follows:
- Topical corticosteroids
- Calcineurin inhibitors (Elidel, Protopic)
- Oral corticosteroids (prednisone)
- Immunosuppressants (cyclosporine)
Eczema and Skin Care
It is critical that basic skin care measures be maintained in order to keep atopic dermatitis under control. Basic steps include avoiding substances that trigger eczema, selecting and using appropriate skin care products and frequent moisturizing.
Moisturizers for Eczema
One of the most important steps for treating and managing atopic dermatitis is to use a moisturizer. Moisturizers provide a layer of protection from irritants, trap moisture in the skin, help restore the skin barrier, and improve the skin’s appearance.
Regular use of a moisturizer for eczema may reduce the need for other medicines.
Moisturizers are best applied at least twice a day within 3 minutes after a bath, shower, or swim.
When choosing an eczema moisturizer, look for a hypoallergenic and ointment-based product. Thicker moisturizers will protect the skin longer than lighter lotions. Avoid moisturizers containing alcohol, fragrances, or other chemicals that can irritate the skin. Even seemingly harmless substances like glycerin can dry the skin of people with atopic dermatitis.
Brand names of frequently recommended moisturizers include:
- Vaseline Petroleum Jelly—-though thick, it is quickly absorbed by very dry skin
Before applying the moisturizer for eczema, use tepid water and a gentle cleanser to remove dead skin cells. Do not scrub or rub excessively. Apply the moisturizer immediately afterward while the skin is still damp.
Remember to use plenty of moisturizer to keep atopic dermatitis at bay, especially in children. Keeping a child’s skin sufficiently moisturized could require as much as 1-2 bottles of moisturizer per week. Adults will need even more.
Bleach baths may be recommended for some individuals, particularly children, to help keep eczema under control and to reduce the chance of developing skin infections, such as impetigo.