Have you been living with severe eczema? Have none of the treatments you have tried so far offered you much relief? Don't stop looking. There's more to eczema treatment than many people realize. Below, we offer an overview of things that may help you. Many of them will be familiar to you already (which doesn't mean they don't deserve a second look), but you may also learn of something new.
Over The Counter Eczema Fighters
Over the counter eczema management tools are likely the first line of defense for you. They come in different forms, ranging from moisturizing creams to anti-itch products, to products that will fight infection. While your pharmacist is going to be your biggest ally in finding new over the counter treatments that could benefit you, the National Eczema Association offers a list of products that bear their seal of acceptance. This list is very much worth exploring for anyone with eczema, and goes beyond products you'd find in a pharmacy — household products and clothing items are included as well.
Bathing And Emollients
Often overlooked by parents whose children have eczema is the fact that bathing routines constitute a mainstay of proper eczema management. Soaking in the bath helps remoisturize extremely dry skin, but also ask your doctor about what you can add to your baths: baking soda, salt, vinegar, and oatmeal can all help, depending on your exact situation.
It is crucial to moisturize your body within a few minutes of exiting the bath. This locks moisture into your skin. Emollients come in many different forms, from creams to lotions and ointments. Once again, consult your doctor to find out which moisturizer is the best for your skin. Keep in mind that using the same moisturizer or combination of moisturizers for too long will likely cause your routine to become less effective. Eventually, your routine may even start irritating your skin more. Change things up every once in a while.
Prescription Eczema Treatments
These fall into two main categories, topical treatments and systemic treatments.
Both corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors are available on prescription to ease your eczema symptoms topically. Meanwhile, corticosteroids are also available in tablet form, and antihistamines can help you reduce the inflammation your skin experiences as well.
Talk to your doctor to see which prescription treatments could be right for you.
Another treatment you may want to consider is phototherapy. Phototherapy for eczema, by emitting narrowband ultraviolet B light, reduces your inflammation, decreases the itching that has likely become your nemesis, and increases your skin's ability to fight off harmful bacteria.
Triggers can be both environmental and psychological — if you have been living with eczema, you may have noticed that it flares up during especially stressful times. Avoiding them or learning to manage them better can markedly improve your symptoms. Physical eczema triggers can include cold, heat, household cleaning products, fungi, house mites, and certain fabrics, but also possibly food products, like cow milk and eggs.
Keeping a diary of your symptoms and possible triggers can help eczema sufferers become more aware of what causes their symptoms to flare up, in turn helping them avoid those triggers in the future.
Medicated bandages can help your skin stay hydrated, as well as preventing you from scratching, something that greatly worsens your symptoms, especially at night when you have less control over the scratching.
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