Treatments and cures for eczema usually focus on relieving itching, redness, and irritation. For many people, the first line of eczema treatment is the use of over-the-counter creams and ointments. If these do not work, other cures for eczema should be tried, including prescription creams and oral medication. In some cases, eczema symptoms are the result of stress, lifestyle, and sensitivities. Doctor and patient can work together to identify eczema triggers and address them with lifestyle changes or medications.
Since eczema is usually characterized by an itchy rash, it is important to reduce discomfort. Common over-the-counter cures for eczema include moisturizing creams, creams containing hydrocortisone, and essential fatty acid supplements such as evening primrose oil or omega-3 fish oil. People who prefer natural cures for eczema may purchase colloidal oatmeal, which is oatmeal ground into a very fine powder that can be added to a bath. Many people find that the oatmeal is soothing to the skin. Chamomile lotion may also offer relief.
Both children and adults should find ways to avoid the natural tendency to scratch as this can irritate and possibly even scar skin affected by eczema. If necessary, patches of eczema should be covered with a light dressing, and sufferers should trim their fingernails regularly and perhaps even wear gloves to bed. If a patient's skin is severely irritated due to scratching, a doctor may need to prescribe antibiotics to control infection.
If over-the-counter treatments don't work, doctors may prescribe prescription-strength hydrocortisone creams and antihistamines, as well as oral corticosteroids. Topical immunomodulators, which help regulate the immune system, such as Protopic and Elidel, can be prescribed to treat eczema, though use of these drugs may carry an increased risk of cancer. Ultraviolet light therapy and chemical treatments are other possible cures for eczema.
An important part of eczema treatment is understanding what causes and triggers eczema flare-ups. People with eczema should be careful to wear natural, non-irritating fibers such as cotton. They should also use mild, unscented detergent for washing clothes and use an extra rinse cycle in order to get as much detergent out of their clothing as possible. Eczema sufferers should be careful to avoid extremes in temperatures, particularly when bathing. If eczema seems to be connected to stress, learning stress management techniques such as biofeedback, meditation, or yoga can be helpful, as can the use of anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants.