How Is Eczema Treated What Medications Are Used
Treating eczema can be difficult if the cause is something you cant control, like genetics. Fortunately, you may have some influence over your environment and stress levels. Do your best to figure out what triggers or worsens your eczema, and then avoid it. The goal is to reduce itching and discomfort and prevent infection and additional flare-ups.
Consider these treatment tips:
If your child has skin problems, such as eczema, you can:
- Avoid long, hot baths, which can dry the skin. Use lukewarm water instead and give your child sponge baths.
- Apply lotion immediately after bathing while the skin is still moist. This will help trap moisture in the skin.
- Keep the room temperature as regular as possible. Changes in room temperature and humidity can dry the skin.
- Keep your child dressed in cotton. Wool, silk and manmade fabrics such as polyester can irritate the skin.
- Use mild laundry soap and make sure that clothes are well rinsed.
- Watch for skin infections. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice an infection.
- Help them avoid rubbing or scratching the rash.
- Use moisturizers several times daily. In infants with eczema, moisturizing on a regular basis is extremely helpful.
The Role Of Chemical Mediators
A chemical itch mediator is a substance in the body that acts as a messenger. When introduced into the skin, the chemical mediator acts on nerves endings in the upper layers of the skin, or indirectly through cells that play a role in causing itch. In atopic dermatitis, several chemical itch mediators have been identified.
Surprising Ways Parents Make Eczema Itchier
Some itch-relieving techniques that people use can make eczema itchier. To prevent this, dermatologists recommend that you avoid:
Telling your child to stop scratching: This rarely works and can leave your child feeling stressed. Stress can cause eczema to flare.
Using anti-itch products: This may seem strange, but anti-itch products often fail to relieve itchy eczema. To make matters worse, some contain ingredients that can cause eczema to flare. Only use an anti-itch product if your childs dermatologist recommends one.
Also Check: Best Thing For Scalp Eczema
Does Histamine Cause Itch In Eczema
Histamine is not a mediator of itch in atopic dermatitis, but its role remains controversial. In atopic dermatitis, it has been found that nerve fibers that transmit itch both peripherally and centrally are histamine insensitive. These peripheral nerve fibers have been found to be mechanically sensitive but unresponsive to histamine. It is thought that these specific nerve fibers may be more clinically relevant to atopic dermatitis itch rather than those nerve fibers that are histamine sensitive. This is the reason why even high doses of antihistamine do not relieve itch, unless they are centrally sedating antihistamines. Therefore sedating antihistamines are probably the only ones that help itch in eczema that does not have a urticarial component .
Skin conditions that cause an eczematous reaction including urticaria are histamine mediated, as are insect-bite reactions and allergic drug reactions. Histamine directly stimulates histamine type 1 receptors on itch-specific nerve fibers. This is why for these conditions antihistamines taken in tablet form are the mainstay of treatment. several types of antihistamine drugs may be prescribed. Treatment generally starts with non-sedating H1 antihistamines , but there are several other treatment options available.
Why Does Eczema Itch At Night And All The Dang Time
Researchers arent super sure what causes eczema, but genetics and environmental triggers might be to blame.
When eczema makes its grand entrance, the affected patches of skin become red and sore, which leads to itching. On top of that, inflammation from eczema increases blood flow, which, you guessed it, also adds to the itch.
If the skin barrier is broken to due inflammation and scratching, this can lead to transepidermal water loss , which contributes to the itch-scratch cycle as well.
Also Check: What Is The Best Cream For Severe Eczema
An Itch By Any Other Name
Pruritus is one of the biggest problems that people with eczema must face, which makes it far from just an itch, as some people may think. The truth is, living with eczema means living with itchy skin. This itch can arise from a variety of factors. With eczema, the skin barrier is damaged which leads to moisture loss and dry skina common source of itch. The damaged skin barrier also causes your skin to be more sensitive to external irritants like soaps or household cleaners. Itch can also arise from an overactive immune system that produces excess inflammation in the skin.
The intense itch of eczema can be so bad that it could lead to a repetitive cycle of itching, scratching, and skin barrier damage.
Signs Of An Infection
Occasionally, areas of skin affected by atopic eczema can become infected. Signs of an infection can include:
- your eczema getting a lot worse
- fluid oozing from the skin
- a yellow crust on the skin surface or small yellowish-white spots appearing in the eczema
- the skin becoming swollen and sore
- feeling hot and shivery and generally feeling unwell
See a doctor as soon as possible if you think your or your child’s skin may have become infected.
Page last reviewed: 05 December 2019 Next review due: 05 December 2022
Recommended Reading: What’s The Best Remedy For Eczema
General Tips For Coping With Eczema
Other tips to manage your eczema include:
- Keep your fingernails short longer nails are more likely to injure your skin when you scratch.
- If the water in your area is hard or alkaline, consider installing a water-softening device.
- Swim in the sea in warm weather whenever you can seawater is known to reduce the symptoms of eczema.
- Use sun exposure for limited periods for example, when swimming at the beach. This can help relieve eczema symptoms. But be aware that ultraviolet radiation is a risk factor for skin cancer and premature ageing of the skin. Also, if sun exposure causes overheating, this can also aggravate eczema.
Eczema Eureka #: Why Scratching Hurts So Good
Did you know that itch and pain have a working relationship? OK, so they dont put on suits and ties and trade stories at the water cooler, but research shows that itchiness will actually subside if pain is present, so that’s why the slight pain of scratching can hurt so good.
Which approach to eczema treatments do you think youd prefer?
Which approach to eczema treatments do you think youd prefer?
A short-term, as-needed approach
Don’t Miss: What Cream Can You Put On Eczema
What Foods Should I Eat Or Avoid To Reduce My Risk Of Eczema
The connection between eczema and food allergies is unclear. If you have food allergies, then one of the reasons why you must avoid that food is that it may cause or worsen dermatitis. Examples of common allergies include peanuts, dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol and gluten. Pay attention to what you eat. If your eczema flares up after you eat a certain food, then you might have an allergy to it.
If you dont have a food allergy then there are no foods, including chicken, that will cause or worsen your eczema.
Avoid Harsh Detergent For Washing
Washing and cleaning are our daily activities. Unfortunately, most detergent powder contains toxic chemicals, artificial fragrances, preservatives, and chemical dye. These entire components react to our skin and make it drier.
As a result, eczema and skin rash are quite a regular occurrence. So choose your laundry detergent wisely, which is chemical-free.
Also Check: Does Eczema Have Tiny Blisters
Read Also: How To Clear Up Baby Eczema
Eczema Coping Tips Beauty Products
Suggestions for using beauty products include:
- Remember that even hypoallergenic cosmetics can irritate your skin. Whenever possible, keep your face free of make-up.
- Avoid perfumes, fragranced skin lotions and strongly scented shampoos.
- When using a new cosmetic, try testing it first on a small, inconspicuous area of skin such as your forearm. If you experience a reaction, dont use the product again.
How Is Eczema Diagnosed What Tests Are Done
Your healthcare provider will take a close look at your skin. They will look for classic signs of eczema such as a redness and dryness. They will ask about the symptoms youre experiencing.
Usually your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose eczema based on examining your skin. However, when there is doubt, they may perform the following tests:
- An allergy skin test.
- Blood tests to check for causes of the rash that might be unrelated to dermatitis.
- A skin biopsy to distinguish one type of dermatitis from another.
Don’t Miss: Really Bad Eczema Flare Up
The Epidermis As The Itch Receptor Unit
The epidermis consists of keratinocyte cells, which are constantly reproducing then moving upward and being shed as dead skin cells. In addition to keratinocytes, the epidermis contains nerve receptors and chemical mediators, which also appear to be involved with the sensation of itch. One theory concerns nerve endings in the epidermis, as it is thought that an itch sensation is generated through nerve receptors adjacent to the keratinocyte cells. specific nerve receptors for itch have not yet been identified in the epidermis. However, scientific experiments have shown that if the epidermis is removed, itch is abolished. This proves that itch must generate from the epidermis. In addition, itch is uniquely restricted to the skin, mucous membranes and the cornea of the eye, where there are epidermal layers. No other body tissue experiences itch.
Why Do Kids Get Eczema
Skin has special cells that react when they come in contact with anything that irritates them. They make the skin inflamed to protect it. If you have eczema, these cells overreact when something triggers them and they start to work overtime. That’s what makes your skin red, sore, and itchy.
No one is really sure why people get eczema. It’s not contagious no one can catch it from you and you can’t catch it from anyone else. Kids who get eczema often have family members with hay fever , asthma , or other things known as “atopic” conditions.
More than half of the kids who get eczema will also someday develop hay fever or asthma themselves. Eczema is not an allergy itself, but allergies can be a trigger for eczema. That means that if you have allergies to things like dust or animal dander, your eczema may flare up sometimes.
Aside from allergies, some things that can set off eczema include:
- soaps, detergents, or perfumes
- dry winter air with little moisture
- other things that can irritate your skin, like scratchy fabrics
Also Check: Dyshidrotic Eczema Over The Counter Treatment
Eczema And Atopic Dermatitis Treatment
Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment to apply to your rash. This will help reduce itching and calm inflammation. Use it right after bathing. Follow your doctors directions for using this medicine or check the label for proper use. Call your doctor if your skin does not get better after 3 weeks of using the medicine.
Antihistamines like hydroxyzine reduce itching. They can help make it easier to not scratch. A new class of drugs, called immunomodulators, works well if you have a severe rash. Two drugs in this class are tacrolimus and pimecrolimus. These drugs keep your immune system from overreacting when stimulated by an allergen. However, they can affect your immune system. So the Food and Drug Administration recommends that these drugs be used only when other treatments wont work.
Try not to scratch the irritated area on your skin, even if it itches. Scratching can break the skin. Bacteria can enter these breaks and cause infection. Moisturizing your skin will help prevent itchiness.
Also Check: Vitamin E Oil For Eczema
What Does It Look Like
The signs of eczema in infants include itchy, dry and scaly skin, redness and swelling of the skin and small bumps that open and weep when scratched. In infants and young children, eczema is usually found on the face, outside of the elbows, and on the knees.
In older children and adults, eczema tends to be on the hands and feet, the arms, and on the back of the knees.Keep in mind that all patches of dry skin are not eczema. The cold, dry outdoor air and indoor heating can dry all babies skin in winter, causing dry patches. In children prone to dry skin, so can the sun, air conditioning, and pool and salt water.
We dermatologists usually say if its not itchy, its not eczema you cant make a diagnosis of eczema unless there is an itchiness that goes with the rash. Babies with cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, can also have a wide-spread rash, which is not eczema in itself. But it is common for cradle cap and eczema to co-exist in the first several months of life.
Read Also: Will Zinc Oxide Help Eczema
Things That May Make Atopic Dermatitis Worse
If you have atopic dermatitisthe most common type of eczemayou can have inflamed patches of skin that are so super itchy, they keep you up at night . The cause? An abnormal immune reaction that changes the skinâs structure and function making it itchy and vulnerable to irritants. While this type of eczema runs in families with asthma and allergies, it isnât an allergic reaction.
Even though there are treatments, this type of eczema can subside and flare-up over and over againand certain things can make it worse. Natalie Zill, a Ventura, Calif., salesperson, struggles daily to manage her symptoms. The 24-year-old used a popular facial moisturizer every day for a while until her eczema returned three years ago.
There was one day I put it on and my whole face was on fire, she said. I really have to make sure, especially for my face, what ingredients are in the lotions.
Here are a few of the common culprits that can exacerbate symptoms and tips for avoiding skin irritants.
When To Seek Medical Advice
You should see your GP or pharmacist if you think you may have discoid eczema, as the condition can take a long time to improve without treatment and it may keep recurring.
You should also seek medical advice if you think your skin may be infected, as you may need to use antibiotic cream or, in very severe cases, take antibiotics tablets.
- oral corticosteroids for severe flare-ups
- antibiotics for infected eczema
- antihistamines for severe itching
There are many different preparations for each type of medication and it is worth taking time with your pharmacist to find the best one for you.
A range of emollient products, soap substitutes and some topical corticosteroids can be bought from pharmacies without a prescription. Some of them are cheaper to buy this way than with a prescription.
Ask your pharmacist for advice on the different products and how to use them. See your GP if your eczema does not improve after using an over-the-counter preparation.
Don’t Miss: When To See A Doctor About Eczema
Prevent Skin Damage Caused By Scratching
Constant scratching can break the skin. To prevent bleeding and an infection, dermatologists recommend the following:
Keep your child’s nails short: Checking nails after your child’s bath lets you know when the nails need trimming.
Cover itchy skin: When skin is covered, children seem less likely to scratch. When dressing your child, be sure to:
Dress your child in lose-fitting clothes made from a soft, natural fiber-like cotton, a cotton blend, silk, or bamboo.
Consider using eczema mittens and eczema sleeves.
Eczema mittens can be effective when eczema flares on your baby’s face. Your baby may still scratch, but the scratching will cause less damage because the fingernails cannot dig into the skin.
Itch relief can be fickle
You may find that a technique works one day and not the next. If one technique fails, try another.
Related AAD resources
ReferencesEichenfield, LF, Tom WL, et al. Part 2: Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of atopic dermatitis with topical therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul 71:116-32.
Sidbury R, Tom WL, et al. Part 4: Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Part 4: Prevention of disease flares and use of adjunctive therapies and approaches. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014: 71 1218-33.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
Which Allergic Reactions Cause Head Itch
Recommended Reading: What Does Early Eczema Look Like
Managing Eczema In Winter And Year Round: A Parents Guide
Cold, dry outdoor air and indoor heating can rob skin of its natural moisture in the winter. Red, crusty, dry patches can be common on a baby’s skin, particularly in winter, and cause concern for parents. Such symptoms can be treated, however, and many babies and children do outgrow the dry, itchy skin of atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.
We spoke with pediatric dermatologist Katherine Puttgen to learn more.
What Causes Eczema In Infants And Children
Eczema is brought about by the complex interplay of a genetic predisposition and the childs environment. Many things from the climate to possible allergens can cause eczema to flare. We know that eczema tends to run in the families with a predisposition to other atopic diseases, such as food allergies, asthma and hay fever. Individuals with atopic dermatitis may lack certain proteins in the skin, which leads to greater sensitivity. Parents with eczema are more likely to have children with eczema. However, the exact way it passes from parents to children is still not known. Most children who have eczema will show signs of the condition in the first year of life. It tends to wax and wane in severity.
Also Check: What Is Good For Scalp Eczema