Eczema is a common and very frustrating skin condition. Many people suffer from it, with symptoms that may vary from person to person in severity and localization.
The term “eczema” is used by health professionals for a number of skin issues. For example, some doctors classify diaper rash as eczema. It is basically an inflammation of the top layer of the skin, on various parts of the body. Hands and face are the most common parts where eczema develops. The main symptom of eczema is drying of the epidermis, with rash, itching and redness.
There is no cure for eczema, but there are many treatment options that relieve the symptoms and prevent new flare-ups.
Treatment for eczema on the body
People who have eczema often find that the effective treatment for this skin condition is a highly individual thing. What helps one person with eczema symptoms may be completely useless for the other. Most experts agree that it is best to try out several treatment options and see which one works the best.
One of the main symptoms of eczema is dryness. Extreme dryness leads to scaling and other forms of skin damage. Dry skin may even develop cracks and openings, with bleeding and increased risk of infection. Dry skin also tends to itch more. Therefore, a big part of eczema management should consist of moisturizing. Simple over-the-counter moisturizers will work, especially if they are mild, pH neutral and preservative-free. Using an oil-based body wash or moisturizing soap will also keep the skin moisturized and protected.
Intense itching can be relieved with special ointments and other topical solutions. Oral antihistamines, such as Benadryl, are also helpful for itchy eczema. Atarax or Vistaril are also recommended.
There are many prescription drugs, mainly topical, that are widely used in treatment of eczema. Hydrocortisone is recommended for mild cases of eczema. People with severe eczema can also try oral steroids, but those often have adverse side effects and are not suitable for long-term use.
Another option in treatment of eczema is immunosuppressants. Drugs like tacrolimus or pimecrolimus are designed for topical use and they provide relief from itching and burning. Oral immunosuppressants, such as Cyclosporine, are available with a doctor’s prescription.
Many people prefer natural remedies to the pharmaceutical ones. They generally have fewer side effects and are suitable for most people. Coconut oil, primrose oil and star flower oil are great when it comes to moisturizing the skin and they may also relieve the itching. Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant, reduces the inflammation related to eczema and aloe vera promotes healing of the skin and soothes the irritation.