Treatments To Help People With Severe Eczema
Eczema symptoms and effective therapies vary. Treatment for severe eczema may include at-home treatments plus prescription medications to ease the awful, stinging itch and discomfort.
Researchers are conducting clinical trials on new medications in the hopes of finding long-term solutions for managing eczema. There have been many advancements, with ideally more to come.
Other than regular cleaning and moisturizing, here are suggested treatments for severe eczema.
Eczema Treatment: 13 Ways To Find Relief
While there is no cure for eczema, there are a variety of non-invasive eczema treatment options that can provide relief during a flare-up and some that may prevent its onset. These can include corticosteroids, but the following home eczema treatment options may be best.
1. Light Therapy/Phototherapy
According to the National Eczema Association, phototherapy helps to calm inflammation, reduces itching, increases vitamin D production and helps fight bacteria on the skin. Adding 1015 minutes a day of sun exposure, particularly during an eczema flare, can provide relief and potentially speed healing.
2. Vitamin D
In addition to increasing sun exposure, supplementing withvitamin D rich foods like cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, eggs and raw milk may help prevent eczema in children and adolescents. Ideally, during a flare you will get 2,000-5,000 IU daily if your sun exposure is low, consider boosting your intake with a high-quality supplement. Preliminary research shows that low vitamin D levels during pregnancy and during childhood may increase the risk for developing eczema.
Because dry skin is both a cause and symptom, it is imperative to moisturize affected areas at least twice a day. Coconut oil is the perfect moisturizer for eczema sufferers. This eczema treatment is antibacterial and anti-fungal, with antimicrobial properties that provide soothing relief, and may speed healing.
4. Treat the Mind and Body
5. Dead Sea Salt Baths
6. Cool, Wet Compresses
Shop All Of Koparis Products From Coconut Melts To Buttery Body Masks
Eczema. Even the word sounds irritating, like an itch we want to scratch .
But, with eczema comes the urgency for near-instantaneous relief. Smooth skin is the goal, but product choices usually have to be specific to sensitive skin types and, of course, must be effective to head toward smoother skin.
Some signs that eczema is starting to occur is if your skin is feeling dry, rough, red or flaky,Tiffany Libby, MD, FAAD, FACMS, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Brown Dermatology in Rhode Island, told the Post. When eczema becomes severe, you may notice more extensive involvement of your skin and or cracks in the skin, which can be painful and may risk becoming infected.
To help solve the tangible side effects of eczema, we consulted Dr. Libby and two other dermatologists on the best eczema creams, treatments, ointments, balms and everything in between. But first, take a look at the following FAQ.
Recommended Reading: Ringworm Vs Eczema In Toddlers
Aquaphor Healing Ointment $1374
Dr. Libby adores Aquaphors Healing Ointment as one of the best eczema ointments because its an occlusive moisturizer to seal in moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss from the skin. Not to mention, its relatively affordable at less than $20.
Both Dr. Chan and Dr. Mack recommend this as one of her favorite eczema ointments, too. Formulated with 41% petrolatum, glycerin and panthenol, Aquaphor helps to repair dry, cracked skin in the setting of eczema, Dr. Mack adds. Its also preservative and fragrance-free, helping to minimize the risk of allergic contact dermatitis.
How Is Phototherapy Used To Treat Eczema
Nearly 70 percent of patients who are treated with phototherapy have positive results, but its important to note that this treatment is not for everybody.
It is important for the doctor to determine what type of UV light is right for you in order to time the treatments and avoid risks to your health. The amount of light exposure is timed and increased as treatment progresses.
Some areas may not have phototherapy readily available and accessible. Talk with your doctor. A trip to the tanning bed is not a replacement for phototherapy.
You May Like: Good Skin Care Products For Eczema
Before Using Dupilumab Injection
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to dupilumab, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in dupilumab injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: oral or inhaled corticosteroid medications such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone , and prednisone . Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had eye problems, or if you have a hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, or threadworm infection . If you are receiving dupilumab for the treatment of atropic dermatitis, tell your doctor if you also have asthma.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using dupilumab injection, call your doctor.
- check with your doctor to see if you need to receive any vaccinations. Do not have any vaccinations during your treatment without talking to your doctor.
If I Start To Feel Unwell Or I Have A Concern What Should I Do
Because methotrexate is an immunosuppressant medication, people taking it can be more susceptible to infection. Therefore, you should inform your doctor or specialist nurse if you experience a fever, sore throat, any infection or unexplained bleeding/bruising. Patients who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccination and who come into contact with either chickenpox or shingles should inform their doctor immediately.
If you have any other concerns , you should contact your doctor or specialist nurse. Contact details for your doctor or specialist nurse should be in your methotrexate booklet.
Also Check: Pictures Of Nummular Eczema On Legs
Home Remedies Can Help
The best way to manage eczema around the eyes is to keep the skin in the area highly moisturized.
- Avoid drying face washes. Choose leave-on emollient products that keep the skin moisturized while they cleanse it.
- Avoid fragrances. Many skincare products contain added fragrances. Choose products that are fragrance-free.
- Use gentle products. Ask your dermatologist for recommendations for gentle moisturizers. These will keep skin moist and free from irritation.
- Wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Sun exposure can make the skin on your eyes more sensitive and lead to eczema outbreaks. Aim to limit exposure.
- Avoid triggers. If you know certain allergens or products trigger an outbreak, steer clear of these. Stick to tried-and-true favorites that you know dont irritate your skin.
Unfortunately, eczema is a persistent skin condition that is tricky to treat. For some people, eczema subsides over time as they get older. Other people, however, may have to deal with the condition throughout their lifetime.
As more information is gained on the condition, more effective treatment and symptom management options are becoming available. A combination of the above treatment options and preventative measures works best for most people.
If You Experience Any Of These Symptoms Stop Using Dupilumab Injection And Call Your Doctor Immediately Or Get Emergency Medical Treatment:
- swelling of the face, eyelids, tongue, or throat
- swollen lymph nodes
- tightness in the chest or throat
- fainting, dizziness, or feeling lightheaded
- joint pain
- flat, firm, hot, red and painful skin lumps
Dupilumab injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .
Also Check: Never Had Eczema Before Why Now
Eczema: Steroids And Other Topical Medications
A lot of people are wary of steroids. If used properly, though, they rarely lead to side effects. And they are only used for acute flare-ups, not for long-term treatment. Preventive intermittent treatment with topical corticosteroids can help with frequent flare-ups.
In mild , a special skin care routine may be enough to keep the condition at bay. If the skin is inflamed and itchy, a topical corticosteroid ointment or cream is used on the rash too. Topical means applied to the skin. These products can effectively reduce the itching and inflammation. They are used until the symptoms go away. If for some reason steroids shouldnt be used, the medications pimecrolimus or tacrolimus can be considered. These belong to a group of medications called calcineurin inhibitors. They are used if, for instance, sensitive areas such as the face or genitals are affected.
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Dupilumab injection is used to treat the symptoms of eczema in adults and children 6 years and older who cannot use other medications for their condition or whose eczema has not responded to other medications. It is also used along with other medications to prevent wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness due to certain types of asthma in adults and children 6 years and older whose symptoms are not controlled with other medications. Dupilumab injection is also used along with other medications to treat chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis in adults whose symptoms are not controlled with other medications. Dupilumab injection is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. It works by stopping the action of certain substances in the body that cause the symptoms of eczema.
Read Also: What Milk Is Good For Eczema
Signs & Symptoms Of Eczema
Like many other conditions, people with eczema can often have periods of time when they experience more severe symptoms that are then followed by periods of time when they have little to non-existent symptoms.
The symptoms of eczema are usually mild. The most common symptoms amongst people, regardless of age include:
- Dry, itchy, flaky, or scaly skin
- Redness, or flushing of the skin
- Open, crusty, or oozing sores
Symptoms of eczema vary depending on the age of the person and generally become more severe the older the person is.
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
Recommended Reading: Dermal Face And Eyelid Eczema Cream
How To Use A Moisturizer
Itâll work best if you apply it after a bath or shower. Use lukewarm — not hot — water. Bathe for just about 10 minutes.
Pat your skin dry. Leave it slightly damp. That way you donât remove all the moisture you got from bathing.
Apply moisturizer within 3 minutes after you get out of the water. Wait longer and your skin will start to dry out.
Soften the moisturizer by rubbing it between your hands. Use your palms to smear a thick layer all over your skin. Apply it gently in simple downward strokes. Try not to rub it in circles or up and down.
It may feel sticky at first, but that’s OK. Don’t try to take off the extra. Your skin will absorb it.
Each time your wash your hands or get them wet, moisturize them, too. Keep moisturizer by each sink in the house so you don’t forget.
If you use a prescription skin medicine, put it on before you moisturize.
Are Steroids Safe In Pregnancy
A group of researchers wanted to find out how safe it is for pregnant women to use corticosteroid creams and ointments. They analyzed the data of more than a million women and their babies. When they compared pregnancy complications in women who used low-potency topical corticosteroids with the complications in women who used moderate-potency creams, no difference was found. They looked at things like congenital defects, birth weight, and which week of pregnancy the baby was born in. The research suggested that babies had a lower birth weight if their mothers used high-potency or ultra-high-potency topical corticosteroids particularly if they used them in larger amounts. But they didn’t find any other links between the different strengths of medication and complications.
Read Also: Do Cold Showers Help Eczema
When Is Methotrexate Used
Methotrexate is used to treat severe eczema, and is often recommended as a treatment for severe eczema that does not improve with topical steroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors and emollients. This can be because the eczema affects a large area of the body, or because the eczema does not respond sufficiently well to topical treatments alone.
Methotrexate is an effective treatment for severe eczema. In the largest high-quality study of methotrexate for adults with severe eczema, 40 per cent of patients saw at least a 50 per cent improvement in their eczema after 12 weeks of treatment. Most patients in this study wanted to continue with methotrexate treatment, and after 24 weeks of treatment there was a 50 per cent improvement in the overall eczema severity of the group.
Methotrexate is taken in tablet or injection form, once a week, on the same day each week. The injection is usually subcutaneous and can be self-administered. Methotrexate is usually started at a low dose, such as 5 mg, once a week . If there are no side effects the dose is then increased weekly to a regular dose of 15-20 mg, once a week . The dose will be adjusted by your dermatologist according to your response to treatment and any side effects.
Methotrexate 2.5 mg and 10 mg tablets look similar, so you should always check the dose of your methotrexate and the strength of the tablets supplied with your dermatologist, nurse and pharmacist. Methotrexate can also be given as a liquid.
Do Moisturizers Help Eczema
Moisturizers are the first-line therapy in treating eczema. They help protect the outer layer of the skin by sealing in moisture, combating dryness, keeping out allergens, irritants and bacteria and preventing flare-ups. And they soothe the skin for long-lasting hydration.
Doctors recommend you apply a moisturizer at least twice per day, including once after a bath or shower. Develop a schedule so that moisturizing becomes part of your skincare routine.
If you experience symptoms on your hands, keep moisturizer by all sinks in the home or carry a small tube with you. This way you can easily moisturize every time you wash your hands throughout the day.
Recommended Reading: Heat Rash Vs Eczema In Adults
Medicines For Atopic Dermatitis
If your doctor decides you need meds to treat your eczema, those may include:
Hydrocortisone. Over-the-counter cream or ointment versions of it may help mild eczema. If yours is severe, you may need a prescription dose.
Antihistamines. Ones you take by mouth are available over-the-counter and may help relieve symptoms. Some of these make you drowsy, but others donât.
Corticosteroids. Your doctor may prescribe these if other treatments donât work. Always follow your doctor’s directions when taking steroids by mouth.
Drugs that work on your immune system. Your doctor may consider these medicines — such as azathioprine, cyclosporine, or methotrexate — if other treatments donât help. There are also prescription creams and ointments that treat eczema by controlling inflammation and reducing immune system reactions. Examples include pimecrolimus , which is a cream, and crisaborole and tacrolimus , which are ointments. You should only use these for a short time if other treatments don’t work — and you should never use them on kids younger than 2, according to the FDA.
Injectables. Dupilumab is an injectable medicine for moderate to severe eczema. It works by controlling the bodyâs inflammatory response. This medicine is given every 2 weeks as an injection and should only be used by people 12 and older.
Prescription-strength moisturizers. These support the skinâs barrier.
Find out which eczema treatment is right for you.
What Medications Are Used To Treat Eczema
While there are no medications that cure the condition, the good news is that there are many medications both over the counter and by prescription that can relieve symptoms.
Every individuals eczema is unique, with different triggers and different symptoms. As a result, treatments will vary from one person to another and even from one flare to another. What works for you one time may need to be changed in the future.
Its important to work with your physician on a personalized treatment plan. Then get to know your medications so you understand how to manage your symptoms most effectively. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about any possible side effects. Read labels carefully and follow dosing and safety instructions.
Recommended Reading: How To Soothe Eczema On Baby
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.