Eczema is a highly persistent skin condition that usually won't go away without treatment. Unaddressed eczema can lead to open wounds, discolored skin, and bacterial skin diseases.
While there is no known cure for eczema, at-home remedies have been shown to help reduce side effects and symptoms associated with the condition. Common at-home remedies include:
Moisturizing: Moisturizing once or twice daily can help soothe skin. Dry skin can cause flare-ups of eczema, so keeping skin moisturized not only helps reduce the side effects of eczema but can also help prevent flare-ups from occurring.
Cool compress: Soak a clean washcloth in cold bathwater and apply it to itchy and inflamed skin. The cool compress can help reduce the inflammatory swelling that can occur, while soothing itching.
Oatmeal baths: Add colloidal oatmeal to a lukewarm bath and soak affected skin to relieve itching and reduce irritation. Studies have shown that colloidal oatmeal protects skin and diminishes inflammatory cells that can lead to flare-ups.
Using gentle soaps and detergents: Because contact dermatitis can be caused by exposure to harsh chemicals and bleaches found in some cleaning products, swapping these products out for products that use natural ingredients and gentle cleansing compounds can help prevent flare-ups. Look for fragrance-free, color-free, and exfoliant-free products to help soothe the skin and reduce irritation.
Allergy medication: Because many forms of eczema flare up due to irritation from allergens, taking an oral antihistamine or using anti-itch topical gel can help minimize the body’s reaction to allergens.
Protect the skin: Eczema gets itchier the more it is scratched. Continued scratching can lead to bleeding, open sores, and bacterial infections. Keeping the skin under clothing, using anti-itch treatments (such as those listed above), and keeping the skin moisturized can help prevent itchy, dry skin.
If eczema is persistent or severe, speak with your primary care doctor or dermatologist about treatment options. Dermatologists are specially trained to diagnose and treat severe skin conditions like eczema and can prescribe maximum-strength medication to help alleviate the discomfort that comes with it.