How do I get rid of my eczema?

accreditation
eczema
eczema
Shutterstock

If you have eczema, you’ll know how frustrating the skin condition can be.

Although there’s no cure for it, eczema can be controlled with medication so you can enjoy a better quality of life.

Here’s how to gain control:

Break the itch-scratch-itch cycle. When you scratch your skin, it secretes chemicals that make the itching worse. Your doctor can prescribe a cortisone cream or an antihistamine to ease the itching.

Identify the triggers. Tracking down eczema triggers is an important part of the treatment. Although targeted allergy tests are sometimes done, experts regard extensive testing as a waste of money because they’re not very accurate for skin conditions (there are more than 400 potential allergens!).

Guard against a witch hunt for triggers and realise eczema is chronic and recurrent – it will flare up from time to time. However, if you always develop eczema after eating a particular type of food, try to exclude it. It’s a good idea to consult a dietician as you do so, as you might be excluding important nutrients, too.

Accept that you won’t always be able to identify specific triggers. Rather make optimum use of your medication to keep your symptoms under control.

Treat the inflammation. Doctors usually treat eczema with cortisone creams of varying strengths depending on the seriousness of the condition. These are usually mixed with aqueous cream but researchers recently discovered some people react negatively to aqueous cream. An oil-based cream is then used.

Creams that contain immune regulators such as tacrolimus and pimecrolimus as the active ingredients are particularly useful. These anti-inflammatories are available only on prescription and are expensive but they work really well.

A doctor might also prescribe an immune suppressant such as cyclosporine. Because it suppresses the immune system and therefore increases susceptibility to disease, cyclosporine is usually used only when eczema doesn’t respond to anything else.

Treat the secondary infection. Eczema isn’t infectious but the risk of bacterial or viral infections is great and infections such as fever blisters or warts can easily spread over the body. In extreme cases, some people (especially children) develop a fever and hospitalisation becomes necessary. Your doctor will treat infections with antibiotics.

Get psychological support. The psychology of eczema is important – after all, stress can make it worse. In addition, uncontrolled eczema can have a dramatic impact on the sufferer’s quality of life. Insomnia caused by the itching is common, so the person could be tired and irritable during the day.

More importantly, eczema is a visible disease that has a social impact on the sufferer. Get help from a counsellor or psychologist if you feel it’s having a negative impact on your mood and emotions.

Read more:

Taking the itch out of eczema

How to take care of dry skin

How to manage sensitive skinPicture:Eczema from Shutterstock


 
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 893 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 4922 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1053 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.41
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
21.49
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
18.88
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.25
+0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.2%
Platinum
1,004.66
-0.9%
Palladium
1,638.38
-0.5%
Gold
1,921.33
-0.1%
Silver
23.61
+0.0%
Brent Crude
84.90
-2.1%
Top 40
74,344
0.0%
All Share
80,325
0.0%
Resource 10
77,934
0.0%
Industrial 25
102,701
0.0%
Financial 15
16,323
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE