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Eczema is a skin condition caused by inflammation. When diagnosed with eczema, it is important to keep your symptoms under control. Knowing what triggers your outbreaks are vital so that you can prevent them. Some common triggers are stress, allergens, irritants, and dry skin.
What You Can Do
Most cases of eczema are manageable with a proper skin care routine. The following practices will help you control your eczema symptoms:
- Establish a Daily Skin Care Routine – This is sometimes in conjunction with prescription therapy. Try not to miss any treatments so that your eczema doesn’t flare.
- Be Aware of your Stressors – Avoid as many stressful situations that you can, and learn stress management techniques to help you with the ones you can’t. You can learn these techniques from a doctor or psychologist.
- Try Not to Scratch or Rub your Skin – Be aware of what materials or substances that irritate your skin and avoid them. Avoid itchy fabrics, like wool, and dress in soft, breathable clothing.
Treatments and Medications
There are many different options available to treat your eczema. These include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies
- Medications available by prescription.
- Alternative therapies
The Most Common Treatments
- OTC Products – These are medications and products that you can buy without a prescription. They include mineral oil, tar-based products, petroleum jelly, and gentle cleansers that do not contain soap. These treatments moisturize, treat symptoms of itching, and gently cleanse your skin to avoid infection.
- Prescription Medications – Your doctor can prescribe systemic oral drugs, topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs), and topical corticosteroids.
- Bathing – This is one of the most effective ways to treat your dry skin. Soaking in a warm bath is very therapeutic. You can add one of the following items to your bath water to treat your specific symptoms: baking soda, oatmeal, salt, vinegar, or bleach. Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel and moisturize immediately afterward.
- Moisturizing – If your skin gets too dry, your symptoms can flare. Washing without moisturizing afterward, harsh soaps, cold temperatures, low humidity, and even wind can dry out your skin.
- Phototherapy – A special machine is used that emits ultraviolet B (UVB) light onto your skin. This increases bacteria-fighting systems in the skin, increases vitamin D production, and reduces inflammation and itching.
- Alternative Therapies – Stress reduction techniques, supplements, acupuncture, plant-based topicals like coconut oils, biofeedback, and meditation have all been shown to reduce your symptoms.
Remember, symptoms of eczema are different for everyone and not everyone will respond to the same type of treatments. It is best to familiarize yourself with all available options and discuss them with your doctor, so you can customize a plan that works best for you.