Eczema is a broad term used to describe various types of dermatitis. The main aim of any eczema treatment is to reduce and manage the uncomfortable and unsightly symptoms of eczema (i.e., redness, dryness, swelling, scaling, and itching) by reinforcing a healthy skin barrier. First and foremost, it’s important for eczema patients to identify and steer clear of triggers that cause eczema to flare up. Eczema triggers can range from stress to temperature, exposure to fragrances and chemicals, and from environmental allergies to clothing materials. Once eczema triggers are identified, it’s essential to reduce contact in order to prevent future flare ups.
In addition to avoiding known eczema aggravators, restoring moisture to affected skin can help restore much needed moisture, and lessen itching and irritation. Here are the most common topical creams and medications prescribed to treat eczema:
1. Dietary changes
Like many chronic conditions, eczema can be affected by the foods we eat, which can trigger an immune-response, followed by inflammation, which leads to an eczema flare up. This is why most traditional and natural health practitioners recommend eczema patients avoid processed foods high in refined sugars and acids in favor of fresh, alkaline-rich foods. As well as foods high in vitamin C and healthy probiotics (i.e., yogurt, miso, sauerkraut or kimchi, and tempeh).
2. Avoid stress
Many forms of eczema are triggered by a negative immune system response, which means stress is a common eczema culprit. Your doctor may recommend cutting down daily stress and incorporating calming activities such as massage, meditation, and yoga into your routine.
Taking daily antihistamines to reduce allergic reactions, as well as calm itch and inflammation have shown promise among eczema patients. Daily antihistamine use should always be closely monitored by a doctor.
4. Oral corticosteroids
Corticosteroids taken in oral tablet over the short-term has been considered an effective treatment option for severe atopic eczema patients. Oral corticosteroids are often prescribed for use in combination with other eczema treatments, and can only be used for short periods to avoid unwanted side effects.
5. Topical corticosteroids
Topical creams can be applied directly to the skin to treat eczema and atopic dermatitis. Topical corticosteroids can be used daily as needed, whenever symptoms occur.