Eczema, like most skin conditions, does have multiple options for treatment. Each of these is meant to treat, heal, reduce symptoms that cause discomfort, and prevent future flares of eczema. In determining the best course of treatment, your dermatologist will consider several things. First, he will of course factor in the type of eczema you have and what may have caused it. In addition, he will look at the results from any previous treatments you may have had, as well as how your case of eczema has affected your life. Where the eczema is occurring (such as on your face versus your leg) will also affect treatment options. The dermatologist will also look into how severe of a case of eczema you have and how long you have been experiencing the symptoms. More long-term cases of eczema symptoms may require stronger medications. Your personal preferences for treatment will likely be the deciding factor in what form of treatment he or she will recommend. Here are some of the medications prescribed for eczema:
- Prednisone or other oral corticosteroids
- Topical corticosteroids
- Cyclosporine or other immunosuppressants
- Elidel®, Protopic®, or other calcineurin inhibitors
Sometimes it takes months to effectively treat eczema, and repeat treatments may be necessary.
Skin Care with Eczema
All skin problems, eczema included, require basic practices for skin care so that you can keep them under control. Of course, avoiding any triggers for eczema will make a huge difference in keeping it under control. Bleach baths can be another way of helping prevent skin infections for those with eczema. In addition, maintain good skin care with the appropriate products and moisturize regularly at least twice a day after showering or bathing. This last step will provide a protection for the skin so that there is a barrier against irritants; it also improves health of the skin and keeps it moist. This is especially important for children’s skin and may mean using even one or two bottles of moisturizer each week (or more for adults).
Using a good moisturizer on the skin may improve the skin’s health significantly so that medicines are no longer necessary. Appropriate moisturizers will not have fragrances, alcohol, or chemicals such as glycerin that can dry out or irritate the skin.
You should choose a moisturizer that is a thicker hypoallergenic ointment, which will be gentle enough for your skin condition and yet powerful enough to soothe and protect the skin. Dermatologists may recommend Eucerin®, CeraVe®, Cetaphil®, Aquaphor®, or even Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly, which the skin will drink right in. Cleanse the skin before applying the moisturizer, but do not use a harsh cleanser or apply too vigorously. Make sure to use the moisturizer after bathing or showering while your skin is a bit damp so as to lock in moisture