Dealing with eczema can be difficult for the more than 30% of the world’s population that lives with the condition. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease flare-ups and make yourself more comfortable.
Medically Recognized Home Treatments
Most eczema patients know these few home treatments advocated by the American Medical Society and the American Association of Dermatology:
- Avoid known food allergens.
- Well-balanced meals.
- Avoid overexposure to UV rays, specifically tanning beds.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and closed-toe shoes when walking in woods or other weed-filled areas, and gloves when touching the plants.
- Light applications of moisturizing lotions if used at all; apply when skin is damp to help retain natural moisture. Use sparingly if used. Discuss over-the-counter lotions with your dermatologist to screen against ingredients contraindicative to eczema.
- Keep fingernails cut and trimmed to avoid breaking the skin when scratching.
Eczema patients might turn to alternative treatments to supplement or complement traditional or commonly known actions. While not all are medically approved, some alternate options might include:
- Increasing intake of certain essential fatty acids, which may enhance the immune system in its fight against atopic dermatitis.
- Some Occidental herbal therapies include corticosteroids, which may reduce itching.
- Ingesting naturally occurring bacteria in the intestines, called probiotics, that might reduce risk of atopic dermatitis in children if pregnant women and newborns take the supplements.
- Herbal teas or topical applications may reduce itching and swelling; teas can help relieve stress naturally.
- Lukewarm oatmeal baths may assist removal of dry skin, relieving itching and swelling.
- Nighttime wet wraps may help overnight itching. Before wrapping the itching limb, soak in a bath with emollient oil then apply a light coat of moisturizing lotion to the affected area. The wrap cloth should be warm and very wet.
- Lavender scents calm and relax. If using the wet wraps, do not add lavender to the bath water, but lavender-scented candles, oils, and potpourri work well.
Always confer with a physician before attempting any alternative treatment, and never take someone else’s prescription medicine, even if identical to one currently prescribed.
“Atopic Dermatitis – Other Treatment – Health.com.” Health.com: Health News, Wellness, and Medical Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. http://www.health.com/health/library/topic/0,,hw216104_hw216300,00.html.
“Eczema Treatment.” SkinCarePhysicians.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/treatment.html.