Eczema, Commonly called Atopic Dermatitis is an itchy inflammation of the skin that mostly occurs on face, neck, inside elbow, behind knees, legs and hands. The symptoms of eczema include dry, itchy, red skin that can crack or ooze. It is generally caused by the allergic reaction to particular food and chemicals like detergents and soaps.
What to do?
- Consult your dermatologist in severe eczema.
- Don’t take longs hot shower/bath.
- Use mild body wash to bathing.
- Apply moisturizer on damp skin twice a day.
- Avoid food and chemicals that cause the flare-up.
The first thing to remember here is not to take hot shower/ bath. Keep it short. Use a mild cleanser to wash. There are many bath emollient available in the market that retains the moisture in your skin even after washing :
- Aveeno bath oils
- Aveeno skin relief body wash
- Sebamed cleansing shower oil
- Sebamed body wash
- Cetaphil Cleanser for dry skin
- Hydromol bath emollient
- Eucerin dry skin body wash
- Epaderm emollient
- Oilatum emollient; and other bath formulas
You can use soap nut (Reetha) to wash. Just boil the soap nut in enough water till it turns mushy. Add a few drops of sesame oil/jojoba oil/ coconut oil into it for moisturising. It helps in itching of the skin.
Oatmeal bath soothes the skin and helps in itching. Mix a 2-3 cut oats power into the warm bathing water. Soaking in water mixed with baking soda also relieves the itch.
Using emollients aren’t a substitute of moisturizers. Apply moisturizer twice a day to relieve dryness and further flare-ups. There are three kinds of moisturizer in form of creams, ointments and lotion.
If you have mild eczema you can go for lotion for dry skin. But if you have moderate to severe, only creams and ointments can take care of the itching and dryness. Ointments are thicker than the rest because of the high amount of lipids into it.
If you have itchy skin then apply you prescribed ointment on the area. Some available over the counter are:
- Hydrocortisone Cream USP 1%
- Fluocinonide ointment
- Elocon ointment
- Clobetasol cream and ointment
- Triamcinolone cream
Eczema takes 7-15 days to clear up. In some cases, it takes more time. Use the treatment till all the flare-ups are gone. Lotion and cream are good for weeping skin and ointments are good for dry and thick skin. Hydrocortisone is the most common steroid cream recommended. Different strength is used for different parts of the body depending on the thickness of the skin. Like, for palm and feet strong tropical treatments are given comparing to face and neck where the delicate skin is.
Eczema comes and goes with weather condition. Applying moisturizer twice a day on the dry area will keep eczema at bay. Some moisturizer available over the counter are:
- Aveeno cream and lotion
- Cetaphil Lotion
- Sebamed lotion for dry skin
- Hydromol cream and ointment
- Epaderm cream and emollient
- Eucerin intensive cream and lotion
- Elidel cream
Adding a few drops of essential oils like lavender oil into the lotion makes a good moisturizer with the antibacterial property. For extremely dry skin, apply coconut oil/ sesame oil/ jojoba oil after the lotion. You can also add these oils into your lotion.
Vitamin E, A, D and Zinc are like food for our skin. Include these into your diet for a healthy and nourished skin within. Take a Vitamin E 400 capsule per day to combat the dryness. You can take it for 20 days. Consult your doctor before taking it. Including nuts are always a safe option to get Vitamin E into your diet.
Tips to Remember:
- Don’t scratch the area.
- Take antihistamine treatment if itchiness persist.
- Steroids thin and lighten the skin area. So, consult before using them.
- Use SPF before stepping out in sun. Heat makes eczema worse.
- Remembering certain area that suffers most will help you keeping dryness at a shoulder length.
- Less intake of sugar helps.