Ways To Relieve Itchy Eczema At Home
Apply a cool compress to itchy skin. To use this technique, you:
Telling your child to stop scratching itchy skin rarely works.
Eczema is just too itchy, and telling your child to stop scratching can feel stressful. Stress often makes eczema worse.
Add colloidal oatmeal to your childs bath. Youll find colloidal oatmeal at many places that sell health and beauty products. When you add this to your childs bath, it helps relieve the dry, itchy skin.
When using colloidal oatmeal, dermatologists recommend:
Dont let your child eat the finely ground oatmeal.
Colloidal oatmeal makes the bath very slippery, so take care to prevent a slip or fall.
Soak in a bath and smear on ointment. After letting your child soak in a lukewarm bath, smear a thick layer of moisturizing ointment on all of your childs skin. When the skin is very itchy, using an eczema friendly ointment like petroleum jelly provides more relief than a cream or lotion.
Home Remedies: Relieve And Reduce Itchy Eczema
Atopic dermatitis is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It’s common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting and tends to flare periodically and then subside. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
No cure has been found for atopic dermatitis. But treatments and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, it helps to avoid harsh soaps and other irritants, apply medicated creams or ointments, and moisturize your skin.
To help reduce itching and soothe inflamed skin, try these self-care measures:
Is Eczema A Sign Of A Weak Immune System
Common skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis are seen in people with normal immune systems as well. Sometimes, skin disease is one of the earliest symptoms of a primary immunodeficiency disease and can lead to further clinical or laboratory evaluation to identify immune deficiency.
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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 with regular use of 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. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that these drugs be used only when other treatments dont 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.
Balancing The Skins Acidity Levels
Vinegar is highly acidic. The skin is naturally acidic, but people with eczema may have less acidic skin than others, which can weaken the skins defenses.
Applying diluted apple cider vinegar could help balance the skins acidity levels, but vinegar can cause burns if it is not diluted.
In contrast, many soaps, detergents, and cleansers are alkaline. They can disrupt the acidity of the skin, which can leave the skin vulnerable to damage. This may explain why washing with certain soaps can cause eczema flares.
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Drink Less Commercial Beverages Drink More Water
If you drink less sodas, sugary drinks and any other drinks with chemicals, youll have less toxins to purify from your body.
If you drink more water, itll help flush away toxins from your digestive tract. Water is natures best drink.
So, drink water whenever you can. And try to avoid alcohol, because it builds up internal heat, and destroys gut microorganisms.
Heres Why You Get Itchy And Why Scratching Feels So Good
Having an itch is an intense and frustrating experience especially if scratching just makes it worse.
But there are certain disorders that actually result in people itching uncontrollably without relief. In one case study, a woman had such an itchy scalp she scratched through to her brain.
So how do these disorders originate? It all comes back to why we itch in the first place, as this video from Its Okay To Be Smart explains.
Itching is an incredibly strange sensation that scientists still dont fully understand.
The itch sensation is technically known as pruritus, and its thought to have evolved as a way to protect skin our largest organ from parasites and build-up of dead cells.
After all, all our other organs are tucked away safely inside our bodies, where they can be fully protected by the immune system. But our skin is our first line of defence, constantly in contact with the outside world, so it makes sense it evolved some unique ways to stay intact.
It also explains why itching is contagious back in the palaeolithic days when we all lived in close quarters, if you saw an infested tribesmate scratching away at themselves, it would make sense that you should start scratching too, in order to avoid being bitten or infected by whatever was bothering them.
But it doesnt explain why an itch produces such a unique and maddening sensation.
But we now know that itching actually has its own specific circuitry, involving its own chemicals and cells.
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Why Does Eczema Cause Itchiness
For most people, itchiness is the worst and most uncomfortable symptom of eczema and can often be the most difficult to treat. Itchiness may also lead to sleep problems for both the person with eczema and their family.
Skin affected by eczema releases certain chemical mediators messengers that stimulate the nerves. Additionally, the nerve fibres in people who have atopic eczema appear to be altered, with an increase in sensory fibres. This can cause even the lightest touch to produce a sensation of itch. These nerves then pass on the sensation of itch to the brain, and before you know it, you are scratching. This is called a neurogenic itch, due to nerve pathways being activated.
However, itchiness is not completely straightforward as there is another type of itch, called a psychogenic itch. This means that the itch is also stimulated by psychological factors these may be conscious or unconscious urges to scratch, brought about via habit or in response to stress.
Try not to say Dont scratch to children and adults who are scratching. This can create resentment and distress, and increase feelings of stress.
Whats The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis In Adults
Subtle Differences in Itchiness Dr. Millstein says, Psoriasis tends to cause milder itching and, in some less common types of psoriasis, a terrible burn. Eczema, on the other hand, can lead to very intense itching. When it starts to become severe, some people scratch their skin so hard that it bleeds.
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What Ingredients To Avoid In Eczema Creams
Of course, there are ingredients youll want to avoid too, Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, tells SELF. Ingredients to watch out for include fragrances, exfoliating acids , harsh soaps, and retinol, she says: These can further irritate the skin by drying them out.
Dr. Nada Elbuluk, M.D., director of the Skin of Color Center and Pigmentary Program at USC, also notes to look at ingredients lists for anything you might be allergic to, because that will also cause a flare-up. I also recommend avoiding physical exfoliants and even certain fabrics such as wool, which can make eczema worse, she says.
So what are the absolute best eczema creams to hydrate, strengthen, and protect against flare-ups? We asked dermatologists to tell us what moisturizers they commonly recommend to their eczema patients. Heres what they suggest.
All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Eczema Coping Tips Good Hygiene
Skin affected by eczema is more vulnerable to a range of infections, including impetigo, cold sores and warts. The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus may cause a secondary infection of impetigo, and possibly contribute to the symptoms of eczema.Suggestions for washing include:
- Take lukewarm baths or showers, and avoid really hot showers.
- Dont use ordinary soap, as the ingredients may aggravate your eczema. Wash your body with warm water alone. For armpits and groin, use soap-free products, such as sorbolene cream.
- Bath oils can help to moisturise your skin while bathing.
- When towelling dry, pat rather than rub your skin.
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Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment Retains Moisture At The Skin’s Barrier
Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.
Christina Oehler is a commerce editor for Verywell Health. She has a degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has work published on sites like Health, Shape, and Brides.
We independently research, test, review, and recommend the bestproducts. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Over 31 million Americans have some form of eczemaa group of skin conditions that involve dry, itchy rash and recurrent flare-upsaccording to the National Eczema Association. Although eczema cannot be cured, it can be treated and maintained using lotions, says Adam Smithee, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas.
Tips For When You Itch
If you canât take it and you simply must scratch, try not to use your fingernails. Instead, rub, pat, tap, or tightly hold the itchy area. You can also gently pinch your skin.
It helps to keep your nails short so youâre less likely to break your skin if you do scratch. You can also try wearing gloves to bed to protect your skin while youâre asleep.
You can try a few other things to deal with the urge to scratch:
Avoid âitch triggers.â Whether itâs a wool sweater, hot room, or a certain cleaning product, know what sets off your skin, then try to steer clear.
Cool off. A wet compress or cold shower can ease the itching.
Take care of your skin. Dry skin will make itching worse. Donât take long, hot showers or baths. Use a gentle, scent-free hydrating cleanser, and stay away from perfumed products.
Apply lotion. At least once a day, use moisturizing cream to soothe your itchy skin. Your doctor may suggest something that has menthol or calamine in it to cool your skin.
Ask your doctor. If over-the-counter creams donât work, ask about prescription meds. For example, corticosteroids can help ease the itch from eczema and psoriasis. If itâs caused by nerve pain, like with multiple sclerosis, an antidepressant or anti-seizure drug might work.
Watch for infection. Call your doctor if your skin is tender to the touch, begins to smell, or oozes pus.
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Best For Body: Cerave Moisturizing Cream
Accepted by National Eczema Association
May not be heavy enough for severe eczema
Scientists have learned that people who have eczema have significantly fewer ceramides, lipids found in skin cells that help the skin retain moisture, in their stratum corneum. A ceramide deficiency can contribute to dry skin, or in the most severe cases, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Thats why this ingredient is important for a healthy skin barrier.
The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream includes three ceramides to work to lock in moisture, keep irritants out, and help restore the protective barrier in your skin. Its accepted by the National Eczema Association and has a rich but non-greasy consistency that is suitable for dry or very dry skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant that helps improve skins hydration levels.
Price at time of publish: $18
Active Ingredients: Glycerin, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop | Scent: Fragrance-free | Usage: Can be used as often as needed or as recommended by doctor
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.
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Whats The Difference Between Dermatitis And Psoriasis
Psoriasis and dermatitis can appear similar. Both cause patches of red skin. However, in psoriasis, the scales are thick and the edges of those scales are well-defined.
Discuss with your healthcare provider your questions about which type of skin condition you have. You can have more than one skin condition at a time. Treatments for one may not work for the other.
Things To Consider With Otc Products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides whether a medicine is safe enough to sell over the counter. However, using OTC medicines still has potential risks. Some interact with other prescription or OTC medicines, supplements, foods or beverages. Others cause problems for people with certain medical conditions. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist or healthcare provider before taking any OTC medicines for eczema.
Its important to correctly follow directions for OTC medicines and be careful when administering them to children. You should never take OTC eczema drugs for longer durations or in higher doses than the product label recommends.
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Does Hot Water Make Eczema Symptoms Better For Some People
Hot water can provide immediate itch relief. Many people with eczema report that very hot water feels good on their skin and takes away the itching and inflammation. This happens because hot water can stimulate the nerves on your skin in a way thats similar to scratching.
However, while hot water can provide instant relief of symptoms, it will likely make them worse in the long term. Instead of using hot water, you can apply moisturizer or a topical eczema cream. This can stop your itch without causing a worse flare-up later.
Use A Moisturizer On Your Skin Every Day
Moisturizers help keep your skin soft and flexible. They prevent skin cracks. A plain moisturizer is best. Avoid moisturizers with fragrances and a lot of extra ingredients. A good, cheap moisturizer is plain petroleum jelly . Use moisturizers that are more greasy than creamy because creams usually have more preservatives in them.
Regular use of a moisturizer can help prevent the dry skin that is common in winter.
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Importance Of Eczema Treatment
There is growing evidence that allergens introduced into the body through the skin can lead to the later development of food allergy, asthma and hay fever. Aggressively treating eczema in children and taking steps to restore normal skin barrier function may lower the risk of future development of these conditions.
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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Cerave Therapeutic Hand Cream $10
This formulation contains dimethicone, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and ceramides. All of the above ingredients help to lock in hydration and improve the functionality of the skin barrier, Dr. Mack said. I use this personally after hand washing multiple times a day the nongreasy formula makes compliance easy.
Checklist For Diagnosing Atopic Eczema
Typically, to be diagnosed with atopic eczema you should have had an itchy skin condition in the last 12 months and 3 or more of the following:
- visibly irritated red skin in the creases of your skin, such as the insides of your elbows or behind your knees at the time of examination by a health professional
- a history of skin irritation occurring in the same areas mentioned above
- generally dry skin in the last 12 months
- a history of asthma or hay fever children under 4 must have an immediate relative, such as a parent, brother or sister, who has one of these conditions
- the condition started before the age of 2
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