Eczema is a skin disorder characterized by inflammation and severe dry skin. It is a blanket term that is used for several different forms of dermatitis. Topic dermatitis is the most common form of this condition.
Eczema rashes can present within the folds of the body such as your elbows and knees, your face, scalp, legs and torso. They can be aesthetically embarrassing, uncomfortable and excessively itchy. Because scratching can lead to serious infections such as Staph., it is important that clear up the rash and alleviate that itch!
Tips to Avoid Scratching
Cut your Nails short
That way if you do scratch at it (in your sleep) you won’t break the skin and leave the wound open for infection. Staph. infection is caused by staphylococcus aureus bacteria that is colonized on your skin and in your nasal cavity. This infection can be serious and even fatal in younger and older populations.
Apply a Cold Compress
Using a cold compress or ice pack will help numb the affected area, making scratching a more incessant demand. Never apply ice directly to your skin’s surface. As this may result in freezer burn.
Take an Antihistamine
Antihistamines help control the itching of eczema. However, they can be drowsy and affect each person differently. A 24 hour relief oral antihistamine taken before bed is ideal.
By applying pressure to the area that is itching, you can help to alleviate the urge to scratch.
Take an Anti-Itch Soak
There are a couple soaks I recommend for eczema. Avoid colloidal oatmeal soaks. New research has show oatmeal to be a contact allergen for some, likely due to the gluten component. Instead take an Epsom salt soak or a vinegar bath. Add 3-4 cups of vinegar to a half full bathtub of lukewarm water. Soak 10-12 minutes. This will help improve your skin’s Ph levels and reduce itching.
Tips for Clearing the Rash
Wear calming Fabrics
The fabrics that are less irritating to eczema rashes and sensitive skin, include: silk, cotton, rayon and linen. Loose fitting is better. Avoid tight clothing, wool and polyester.
Avoid Hot Water
Hot water will dry out your skin and worsen eczema flares.
Moisturize Twice Per Day
You can moisturize up to four times a day for better results. Make sure to apply moisturizer 3-5 minutes after showering.
Use proper Moisturizer
It is better to utilize heavy, thick creams and/or ointments rather than lotion for optimal moisture lock.
Repair Skin Barrier
Use moisturizers that contain ceramides and focus on essential skin lipid replacement and skin barrier optimization. These products help your skin’s barrier to heal itself. Ceramide 3 is one of the better ceramides for this. There are 6 variations of ceramides.
If you are unable to clear up your eczema symptoms, make an appointment with a licensed dermatologist. They can determine whether you may need topical steroid treatments, photo- therapy or an antibiotic to help you get your gain control over this condition.
It is always best to keep a treatment journal. Make note of what works for you and what seems to worsen your flares. Speak to your doctor about what you discover for your personal case of eczema.
Dr. Cheryl Lee Eberting is a board certified dermatologist and is a past fellow of the National Institutes of Health. She was one of the first dermatologists in the world to begin advocating the use of bleach baths for the treatment eczema.