Complementary And Alternative Treatments
Many people with eczema use skincare products and practices that are outside Western or conventional medical advice to help manage their symptoms. If you use these natural therapies or home remedies with doctor-prescribed medications, you are using a complementary method to manage your eczema. If you are using natural therapies in place of conventional medicine, you are using an alternative method of self-care for your eczema treatment.
Before you consider any kind of treatment, its important to understand what triggers your eczema. Learning about the skin irritants in your everyday surroundings can help you better manage the condition whether you use traditional medications, alternative therapies or both. The following complementary and alternative therapies have been studied and found to benefit certain symptoms of eczema in adults. Check with your healthcare provider if you are interested in trying alternative therapies on your childs eczema.
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Eczema
ByManisha Kumar | Submitted On December 07, 2010
With the advance of medical sciences eczema is no more an incurable disease. Proper medication and various therapies are considered to be the best treatment for eczema. Eczema is a kind of skin inflammation which might cause severe harm to the skin. There are different types of eczema which can be treated in various manners. Eczema gets cured in infants by the age of three, while adults tend to suffer from recurring attacks throughout their life. The primary aim of eczema treatment is to prevent inflammation, itching and aggravation of the condition. Treatment is done keeping in mind the age of the individual, condition and type of eczema.
Although a permanent cure is not possible for eczema, if a few simple steps are followed, it is easy to get rid of it. Applying medicated creams or ointment is the first step towards treatment for eczema. Lifestyle changes are regarded as an important step in treating eczema. At times the patients are advised to avoid over-bathing because that might trigger the severity of the disease. Corticosteroid creams of variable potency are prescribed to mitigate the skin inflammation.
Do you want to know what is the best treatment for eczema from a wide variety present? While ointments, oral drugs and creams are the most commonly used treatment, the best treatment for eczema is done naturally.
What Kinds Of Moisturizers Are Most Effective For My Eczema
Not all moisturizing creams are created equal. In fact, there are many types of common moisturizers that arent good at helping control your eczema and may even make it flare or get worse. Its important to understand the differences between the three basic types of moisturizers other than lotion ointments, creams, and skin barrier creams so that you can properly hydrate your skin, get the itch relief you need and help keep your symptoms under control.
Moisturizers are classified based on the amount of oil and water they contain. The more oil in a moisturizer, the better it usually is at treating eczema. The best moisturizers to use are the ones that feel greasy , because they contain more oil. These are very effective at keeping moisture in and irritants out.
All moisturizers should also be applied to your hands immediately after washing and gently blotting them dry. For this reason, its a good idea to keep moisturizer near every sink in your home and carry a small tube with you at all times, so that you can reapply it throughout the day.
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Corticosteroids For Treating Eczema Symptoms
You may have heard of cures for treating eczema naturally online, but the truth is that topical corticosteroids are the standard, go-to treatment for eczema flare-ups.
Applied directly to the affected areas of skin, these ointments, creams, or lotions may:
- Reduce inflammation
- Ease irritation or soreness
- Reduce itching and the desire to scratch
Topical corticosteroids should not be used as moisturizers and should only be applied to areas of the skin that are affected by eczema.
Over time, these drugs can thin the skin, cause changes in color, or result in stretch marks.
Should I Use Different Products For Different Areas
Absolutely! According to Nussbaum depending where the eczema is located it should be treated differently. For example, eyelids and sensitive skin areas like underarms, inguinal folds and lips will be treated with a lighter strength corticosteroid than thicker skin like the back or legs, she explains.
The scalp can experience a few different conditions which may look like eczema, however could be a form of seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis or fungal infection. Therefore always see a dermatologist to help diagnose the condition. Depending on the condition, there are different shampoos, gels and creams containing ingredients such as coal tar, salicylic acid, corticosteroid or selenium sulfide can also effectively treat the scalp.
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Which Oral Or Injected Medicines Work Best To Treat Moderate To Severe Eczema
Why this question is important
Eczema is a persistent condition that causes dry, cracked, and itchy skin. People with mild eczema have small patches of dry skin, and people with moderate eczema have larger, redder, or swollen areas of skin. People with severe eczema have red crusts and broken skin that develop all over the body.
Although there is currently no cure for eczema, treatments that aim to relieve symptoms are available. Usually, the first treatment option is to apply creams, ointments, or liquids to the affected skin. If this does not work, it is possible to take oral or injected medicines that work throughout the body.
Many systemic medicines are available for eczema. To help people decide which one is most appropriate for managing their symptoms, we reviewed the evidence on benefits and risks of different systemic medicines for people with moderate or severe eczema. We particularly wanted to find out:
whether some medicines were more likely than others to have an important positive effect on symptoms , or improvement on the Patient-Oriented Eczema Measure two scales that are used by clinicians to evaluate changes in eczema symptoms) and
whether some medicines are associated with more serious unwanted events, including infection, than others.
How we identified and assessed the evidence
What we found
Dupilumab versus placebo
Other systemic medicines versus placebo
Comparing different systemic medicines with one another
What this means
Home Remedies For Eczema
In addition to seeking help from a doctor, people with eczema may be able to take a few steps on their own to reduce itching and the need for medication.
These measures include:
- Keeping fingernails short, and avoiding scratching the skin
- Moisturizing skin frequently with ointments , creams, and lotions that are free of alcohol, fragrances, and dyes
- Using a humidifier, particularly if the air is dry
- Avoiding skin irritants, such as wool or man-made fibers , strong soaps and detergents, and situations or environments that cause sweating
- Avoiding airborne allergens, such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites
When bathing, it’s important to minimize time in the tub or shower and to use cool or lukewarm water. Use gentle body washes and cleansers, and avoid scrubbing or toweling off for too long.
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What Were Looking For
Ingredients: Serious cases of eczema will require prescription treatments, but some patients can get by with an over-the-counter one filled with emollient, humectant ingredients like ceramides, petrolatum, shea butter, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and squalene, which will rehydrate and restore any dry, cracked skin caused by eczema, according to Dr. Corey L. Hartman, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama. For eczema-prone skin, hydration is the name of the game, he says. And since eczema is essentially just inflammation of the skin, products with additional ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and petroleum will soothe and protect the skin from further damage or irritation.
Price: Eczema treatments tend to be on the affordable side, but weve noted how much youre getting in each bottle or tube and how much it costs per ounce.
What Are The Most Commonly Used Steroid Creams For Eczema
There are many different types of steroid creams that can be used to treat your eczema. Before using any on your eczema even over-the-counter creams talk with your doctor about which ones might be best for your situation. Not everyone will respond or react to steroid creams in the same way.
Different steroid creams used to treat eczema may include:
Although rare, Dupixent can cause eye problems including:
- Eyelid inflammation
- Inflammation of the cornea
Its important to contact your healthcare provider right away if you experience vision problems, eye pain, or severe eye irritation.
Stop administering the medication and seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction like hives, skin rash with or without a fever, swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, scratching, or a general ill feeling.
You may experience side effects not listed here, so be sure to contact your healthcare provider with any problems or concerns.
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Antihistamines And Pain Relievers
Atopic dermatitis , the most common form of eczema is part of whats known as the atopic triad . In fact, people with AD have a greater chance of developing comorbidities or related health conditions, namely asthma, hay fever and food allergies. To help combat itch and curb inflammation if you have allergies, a healthcare provider may suggest antihistamines. Some antihistamines also contain sedatives that can help people sleep.
Examples of OTC oral antihistamines include:
To address common eczema symptoms such as burning, pain and inflammation, a healthcare provider may also suggest OTC pain relievers such as:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen
What Gets Rid Of Eczema Fast
Eczema is typically caused by an overactivity of the immune system, which means it can last for various amounts of time. Most of the medications available or at-home remedies will work quicker than not treating eczema at all. However, there is not an instant or guaranteed overnight relief. Many eczema sufferers have had success with moisturizing and oatmeal baths for quicker relief.
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How To Use Moisturizers
In addition to applying your child’s moisturizer immediately after a bath or shower, it can also help if you:
- Use a fragrance-free moisturizer that is in ointment form.
- Avoid moisturizers that contain alcohol and SLS: they can be drying or irritating.
- Continue to use a moisturizer every day, even when your child’s eczema is under good control.
- Apply a moisturizer several times a day, not just after baths and showers.
- After your child goes swimming, be sure to rinse them off and then quickly apply a moisturizer.
- Consider using wet dressings or wet-to-dry dressings right after you moisturize your child’s skin when they have hard-to-control eczema flares.
Say No To Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Once a common ingredient in aqueous creams, SLS is now thought to worsen eczema by causing stinging, itchiness and redness. Studies show that non-SLS aqueous creams are less likely to irritate skin than aqueous creams that contain SLS. These days, many products have been reformulated to remove the ingredient.
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Diagnosis & Treatment Options
Eczema is not a contagious condition. There is also no cure for it.
There are many treatment options that can help to manage eczema breakouts, reducing their severity and frequency. Eczema treatment is focused on repairing damaged skin and alleviating uncomfortable symptoms.
Current treatment options include:
- Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments. Anti-inflammatory creams target skin itchiness and inflammation.
- Systemic corticosteroids. Prescription corticosteroids can be swallowed or injected when topical creams are not effective enough.
- Antibiotics. These are prescribed when a bacterial skin infection is also present.
- Antifungal/antiviral medications. These are used to treat fungal or viral infections related to eczema.
- Antihistamines. These reduce itchiness and improve sleep.
- Topical calcineurin inhibitors. These are used to decrease inflammation of the immune system that is causing flareups.
- Skin barrier-repairing moisturizers. These help to keep moisture in and repair the skin.
- . Ultraviolet A or B light waves can be used to treat moderate eczema.
- Wet wrap therapy. This treatment is used for severe eczema. Three lukewarm baths per day are given, followed by the application of topical medications and moisturizers. The skin is then wrapped in wet gauze.
Best Budget: Cetaphil Eczema Soothing Moisturizer
Courtesy of Walmart
May not be effective for severe eczema
Not suitable for those sensitive or allergic to oat
Studies have shown that oats soothing properties can help treat itchiness in dry skin and help reduce inflammation in skin conditions such as eczema. This National Eczema Associationapproved Cetaphil lotion contains 1 percent colloidal oatmeal that helps relieve skin irritation.
It also has creamy but non-greasy consistency that’s soothing and hydrating without feeling tacky on the skin. Its a great budget-friendly option for those looking for an effective but still lightweight skin protectant. Its paraben-, fragrance-, and steroid-free and has been endorsed by the National Eczema Association as gentle for eczema-prone skin.
Price at time of publish: $16
Active Ingredient: Colloidal oatmeal | Scent: Fragrance-free | Usage: Can be used as often as needed or as recommended by doctor
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Oral Or Injected Immunosuppressants
Oral immunosuppressant medications prevent the bodys immune system from sending an inflammatory response to the skin, which results in less itching, redness, and rash.
Immunosuppressant medications are available in varying strengths, and doctors determine the dosage based on your age, severity of symptoms, location and extent of the rash, your weight, and whether you have other medical conditions. Typically, these medications are taken once or twice daily, although the dosage can vary.
If eczema or dermatitis is severe, a doctor may recommend immunosuppressant medication that is injected into the skin. Your dermatologist determines the appropriate schedule of injections. He or she may administer the injections in a doctors office or show you how to do it so you can inject the medication at home.
Dermatologists may prescribe immunosuppressant medication for weeks or months or until symptoms of eczema or dermatitis are under control. Often, our doctors may reduce or stop a prescription at that time to see whether symptoms can be managed using topical medication, , or at-home therapies.
In some instances when symptoms cant be relieved by other treatments, therapy with immunosuppressant medications may continue for years. Your doctor can discuss side effects of immunosuppressant medications.
Bathing Moisturizing And Wet Wraps
People with eczema tend to have very dry skin in general. This is because the disease causes defects in the stratum corneum, or the skin barrier. The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the skin that serves a dual purpose: it protects irritants, bacteria, viruses and allergens from getting into our bodies and it keeps moisture from getting out. Genes, skin trauma such as from scratching or rubbing and inflammation caused by the immune system can all contribute to this defective or leaky skin barrier in people with eczema.
The most effective way to treat dry itchy skin is to give it the moisture it needs and help it to retain it. Proper bathing and moisturizing are important for this reason especially if you have eczema. The best way to replace and retain moisture in the skin is to moisturize immediately after taking a bath or shower. Download our step-by-step eczema care fact sheet.
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Amlactin Ultra Hydrating Body Cream
AmLactin is arguably the best OTC treatment for atopic dermatitis, says board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Kenneth Mark, MD. It’s an alpha hydroxyl acid, which smooths out skin by removing the dead layer of skin cells, helping nix the flaky skin that patients with eczema suffer from. It’s also a humectant, so it helps the skin retain and increase its moisture levels.
“This helps restore the skin’s barrier function and minimizes transepidermal water loss, which can play a key role in the inflammation of eczema,” he says. But take heart: When people first start using it, it can cause some minor irritation and redness.
Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream $14 Original Price: $16
As one of Dr. Chans favorites for those with allergies especially, Vanicreams Moisturizing Cream comes in an easy-to-use pump, is fragrance-free and is non-comedogenic, so it wont clog your pores.
The lotion formulation makes this product cosmetically elegant for the face, while still being effective to minimize eczema flares, Dr. Mack said.
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Avoid Fragrances And Botanicals
A good rule of thumb is that if you love the way it smells, dont use it on your eczema. I always recommend fragrance-free, Dr. Anthony says. Some people love scented products, but the botanicals used in lotions and creams can be a problem in terms of allergic contact dermatitis for people with eczema.
He encourages eczema patients to use bland products that dont have fragrances or floral-based ingredients and to avoid ingredients like:
Should I Use A Product That Earned The National Eczema Foundation Seal Of Approval
The National Eczema Association created the Seal of Approval acceptance program to help sensitive-skinned consumers properly select skincare.
The NEA Seal of Approval criteria includes a list of ingredients that are known for causing irritation, Dr. Mack explains. The Seal of Approval review panel evaluates ingredient and formulation data. Lastly, the Seal of Acceptance makes the products ideal for sensitive skin types easily identifiable.
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