Eczema affects roughly 1 in 10 people during a lifetime. It is a highly persistent skin condition that can lead to open wounds, discolored skin, and bacterial skin diseases if left untreated. There is currently no known cure for eczema, and flare-ups will not go away on their own if left untreated. However, at-home remedies have been known to help reduce the effects of eczema. Some at home remedies include:
-Moisturizing: Moisturizing once to 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 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 helps protect 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 worse and more itchy the more it is scratched. Continued itching 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.
The best ways to prevent eczema include moisturizing, anti-itch topical medication, and antihistamines. These measures, along with avoiding triggers such as harsh chemicals, bleaches, and cleaning products can help reduce symptoms of eczema while relieving the urge to itch and scratch flaky skin.
If eczema is persistent or severe, you may consider speaking with your primary care physician or a dermatologist to create a treatment plan that might be right for you. Eczema will not go away on its own if it is left untreated, and continued itching can not only make the skin condition worse, but may lead to sores, bleeding, and infections. In some cases, antibiotics or prescription-strength topical medication may be required to help reduce the symptoms of eczema. Dermatologists are specially trained to diagnose and treat severe skin conditions such as eczema, and can prescribe maximum-strength medication to help alleviate the discomfort that comes with eczema. Along with therapeutic treatment, eczema cannot be cured, but can be minimized greatly.