Eczema Treatment

Once the diagnosis of eczema is made, treatment depends on the degree and severity of the condition. Most individuals desperately want to prevent the itch and skin dryness. The treatment of eczema involves:

Lotions: Because the skin is very dry, moisturizers are very important. One must keep the skin as moist as possible. There 100s of lotions to choose from and baby oil is as good as any. Lotions should be applied 2-3 times a day and when applied regularly, they do relieve the itch

When the itch is moderate to severe, one may apply cool compress directly to the skin. In most cases, this will soothe the skin and relieve the itch

Corticosteroids: When the itch is moderate and not controlled by the above means, one may use corticosteroids. There are numerous topical corticosteroids and they are all effective. Corticosteroids should not be used when there is no itch. They work best during the acute episodes and rapidly relieve the redness and itch. Low potency corticosteroids are now available without a prescription and are effective.

When the condition is prolonged and resistant to topical steroids, oral corticosteroids may also be prescribed. A short course of oral corticosteroids may relieve the resistant eczema.

Antibiotics: If the skin is broken and there is evidence of infection, antibiotics may have to be prescribed. Most antibiotics are only given for a week

Anti histamines:
Frequently, antihistamines are administered for skin itch. The antihistamines also promote sleep and reduce the itch. There are numerous anti histamine available- both prescription and non prescription drugs. The older antihistamines are sedating and not frequently used. The newer anti histamines are more effective and less sedating.

In some rare and severe cases of eczema, tar treatments may be required. Numerous tar formulations are available. The tar is applied to the skin and the rash and redness disappear in a few weeks. The tar therapy is messy and stains everything in site.

Phototherapy: Also used rarely for eczema is phototherapy. The light therapy is known to decrease the skin redness and inflammation.

Newer drugs recommended for atopic dermatitis are tacrolimus and pimecrolimus. These medications do not have the side effects that are so common with corticosteroids. However, these drugs are not the first choice, are expensive and the treatment needs to be monitored by the physician.

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