There are various measures that can be used to properly care for eczema. If a child or adult develops this skin condition, there are various possible causes. Luckily, with the help of several treatment measures, the symptoms of this skin condition can be kept in check or prevented from flaring up.
Avoidance of the potential triggers for itchiness must be the initial priority among those who have eczema. The environmental triggers can be controlled by avoiding nylon, wool or any rigid clothing that can irritate the skin and promote sweating. It is recommended to use cotton clothing that has been washed using a mild detergent or utilize a double rinse cycle. Just be careful when using fabric softeners since these can irritate the skin.
Using an air conditioner during the summer season prevents sweating and eliminates excess humidity. During the winter season, a humidifier can be used to prevent excessive dryness of the skin.
Good skin care
Remember that good skin care starts with proper moisturizing and hydration which reduces the itchiness and formation of eczema. Hydration of the skin is ideally maintained by daily application of moisturizing creams. In addition, vegetable shortening is an inexpensive moisturizer.
Lotions that contain excess water must be avoided since they cause drying of the skin. Pure petroleum jelly must be avoided which does not moisturize the skin unless applied on top of a moisturizer or moist skin.
Bathing is beneficial if done in the right manner and can be detrimental if incorrectly done. It is vital to avoid extremely cold or hot baths or showers. If possible, bathe on a daily basis and soak in the water until the fingertips start to wrinkle. The next step is to blot dry using a towel and apply a moisturizing cream from head to toe within 3 minutes of getting out of the shower or bath while the skin is still damp.
Management of eczema
If eczema worsened due to uncontrolled itchiness and scratching, medications are required to control the issue.
These are the initial line of therapy for eczema and available in creams, lotions, ointments and solutions and most are given by prescription only.
The over-the-counter variants usually have low concentration. The topical steroids must be used in the lowest strength possible at the shortest duration since side effects such as skin thinning, absorption into the body and pigment changes in the skin are possible.
Topical calcineurin inhibitors
These medications are used on a short-term basis for children older than 2 years old. They do not trigger pigment changes in the skin or thinning and can be used safely on the face. Additionally, they also help minimize the amount of topical steroids needed when utilized for the mild symptoms.
In rare cases, a short course of oral steroids is needed to control a severe flare-up of eczema. Care must be observed when these are used due to a rebound effect that can occur with aggravating of the skin soon after the steroid is no longer used. If these are used, the dosage must be tapered slowly to reduce this risk.
Oral and topical antibiotics
If eczema becomes worse, it can be triggered by a skin infection or presence of Staphylococcus aureus. A course of antibiotics that targets this bacterium is needed. The use of topical steroids can be continued even if infection is present. The topical antibiotics are sufficient for localized infections while the oral variants are required for cases that involves large areas of the skin.