If you've followed these tips, like moisturizing at night and taking short baths, and you still have a severe case of this skin disorder, it may be time to revisit your dermatologist.
Dermatologists and health care professionals will prescribe eczema treatments on a case-by-case basis, usually starting with mild therapies, like OTC moisturizers, and eventually selecting more intense treatments if the condition worsens. Remember that eczema can only be managed, not cured.
As mentioned earlier, doctors may recommend nonsteroidal topical treatments like Elidel or Atopiclair as an added measure to a standard moisturizing regimen. They may prescribe strong topical corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and control itching. These steroidal treatments are available in oral form for severe cases.
If eczema looks very red, swollen, abnormal or covered in pus or a thick crust, skin may be infected. Infections aren't uncommon when it comes to this skin disorder, and it's important to check with your dermatologist before moisturizing eczema as per usual. Mild infections may require combination creams that have antibiotics as well as moisturizing agents; severe cases may involve oral antibiotics as well as topical treatments. It's important to note that if you suspect infection, discontinue the wet dressing method as this may worsen the problem [source: Infection and Eczema].
Learning more about eczema and how your body responds to different moisturizers will help you better manage itchy, dry skin.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Bathing and Moisturizing, National Eczema Association (Aug. 28, 2009). http://www.nationaleczema.org/living/bathing_and_moisturizing.htm
- What is Eczema?, EczemaNet (Aug. 28, 2009). http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/whatis.html
- Types of Eczema, EczemaNet (Aug. 29, 2009). http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/types.html
- Dry Skin and Keratosis Pilaris, American Academy of Dermatology (Aug. 28, 2009). http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/skin_dry.html
- Knowing Your Child's Eczema, The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne (Aug. 29, 2009). http://www.rch.org.au/derm/eczema.cfm?doc_id=4596
- Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema), Allergy, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Aug. 29, 2009). http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=76998
- Lifestyle and Home Remedies, Mayo Clinic (Aug. 29, 2009). http://mayoclinic.com/health/dry-skin/DS00560/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies
- Brain, Marshall and Karim Nice, "How Humidifiers Work," HowStuffWorks.com, Nov. 13, 2009 (Aug. 29, 2009). https://home.howstuffworks.com/humidifier.htm
- Treating Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis), U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 12, 2008 (Aug. 30, 2009). http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/allergy-and-asthma/2008/08/12/treating-eczema-atopic-dermatitis.html
- Skin Disorders, Discovery Home and Health (Aug. 30, 2009). http://www.discoverychannel.co.uk/homeandhealth/article.jsp?section_id=5&theme_id=10&subtheme_id=91&article_id=410&site=uk
- Infection and Eczema, National Eczema Society (Aug. 30, 2009). http://www.eczema.org/Eczema-Infection.pdf
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