Eczema, or ‘dermatitis’, is one of the most common skin complaints that has affected millions around the world. It is a skin condition characterized by intense itch and inflammation and comes in various forms, including atopic eczema, which is the most common.
Things can go awry when eczema strikes and one way to combat it is to know how to treat eczema. You may already be aware of some of the information I am about to share with you but do consider using the new approaches as they may prove to be effective.
Before we go on to the various treatments available to treat eczema, I would like you to watch this video which presents some really helpful treatment strategies that you can use to relieve your itching. Bear in mind that this video is created by Dr. Schultz from DermTV, not by me.
1. Topical and Oral Treatments
There is a variety of treatments for eczema and the list stated below includes some of the more commonly used modes of chemical treatments.
Emollients are used all the time to prevent the loss of your skin’s own moisture. You may need different emollients for different purposes such as going for work or before going to bed.
Steroids are a group of chemicals which include natural hormones produced by the body. The steroids used to treat eczema and other inflammatory conditions are corticosteroids. These calm inflammation and reduce over-activity of the immune system.
Antibiotics are used to treat infected eczema. They are usually combined with topical steroids to form an effective treatment. However, it is not recommended for long-term usage because it may result in the development of resistant bacteria. When this happens, your infected eczema may get worse rather than better with such treatments.
Oral steroids are mainly used to stop severe eczema flare-ups. This treatment is usually used to help someone get over a flare-up during important occasions like during a final-year exam or before a wedding.
However, it is not a cure for eczema as the eczema will revert back to its original severity in a matter of a week or so when the treatment is stopped. Thankfully, this phenomenon can be alleviated if another treatment is used to keep it under control.
Oral steroids are not recommended for long-term usage as it can result in many life-threatening side-effects like diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis.
Antihistamines are used to reduce itching caused by inflammatory substances. They are available in tablet and syrup form. However, their effectiveness is questionable because the itching symptom in eczema may be caused by other inflammatory substances, not just histamine.
The treatments mentioned are available from your doctor and you can also refer to a skin specialist for the following:
Photo-therapy uses UV rays which are similar to the sun to restore and repair your skin’s condition. This treatment procedure is usually performed with air-conditioned light cabinets under the supervision of a specialist nurse.
2. DIY Complementary Therapies
Ever wonder how to treat eczema besides topical and oral treatments? Well, you can practise the following alternatives but you might want to consult your doctor before you do so.
Your reflexes are stimulated and it brings about physiological changes which encourage the mind and body to self-heal.
- Traditional Chinese medicine
It uses acupuncture, blends of herbs, dietary manipulation and Tai Chi exercise to achieve balance of body, mind and environment. It is popular among eczema sufferers.
It is thought to relieve stress and this helps eczema sufferers.
3. How to Treat Eczema with DIY ‘Natural’ Treatments
There is a wide range of natural remedies for eczema that you can try on your own without needing a prescription from your doctor.
They are found in cultured or fermented foods such as cheese or live yoghurts and supplements.
- Evening primrose oil
It helps to restore the suppleness and barrier function of the skin.
It is thought to help relieve the itching of eczema when applied to the skin.
- Aloe Vera
The gel from the plant’s leaves has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. You can use it directly from the leaves.
4. A Balanced Diet
As an eczema sufferer, you should also watch your diet as a balanced eczema diet is important for general health and could improve eczema.
Here are some points to bear in mind:
- Keep your skin well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Supplement your diet with supplements like evening primrose oil, fish oils, liquorice and chamomile tea.
- Identify your food allergies.
- Be aware of food additives.
Do note that the information provided here is general and for detailed information on how to treat eczema, you may want check out Beat Eczema which is an ebook written by Susan Clark, an eczema sufferer, on how she managed to treat her eczema with natural remedies.
I have bought a copy of the ebook and you can learn more about it at my Beat Eczema Review page.
Last Updated: 28 March 2012
1. Dr Sarah Wakelin MBBS, FRCP(UK). Your Guide to Eczema. 2005. Great Britain: Hodder Arnold 2005.
2. Wendy Green. 50 things you can do today to manage eczema. 2009. UK, West Sussex: Summersdale Publishers Ltd