Things that may increase the risk of eczema are:
- Having asthma or allergies
- Living in city or places with low humidity
- Eczema or allergies in family members
- Regular contact with things that irritate the skin such as:
- Perfumes in soaps
- Dust mites (common)
- Rubber gloves for people sensitive to latex
- Stress—scratching can be a habit with stress
- Washing area often
- Scratching or rubbing of skin
- Medicine that lowers the immune system
- Excess weight or obesity
Eczema cannot be cured. Treatment can help to ease itching and redness. It may also reduce the number of flare ups.
Treatment to ease symptoms may include:
To ease stress on skin:
- Avoid hot or long baths or showers.
- Use mild, unscented bar soap or non-soap cleanser.
- Do not scrub area. Air-dry or gently pat is better to dry skin.
- Gentle moisturizers should be used after a shower when skin is still damp.
- Treat skin infections right away.
- Look for possible irritants. Avoid them when possible.
Scratching the skin can make symptoms worse. It can also damage the skin and increase the risk of infection. Medicine may help if itching is intense.
Medicine may be needed to ease symptoms. Examples include:
- Prescription creams and ointments. They can ease flare up and irritation of skin.
- Prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines to help ease itching.
- Antibiotics to treat infection. It may be given as a cream or pill.
- Pills to reduce inflammation of the skin.
- Monoclonal antibody shots to reduce inflammation.
Light therapy may be tried if other care is not helpful. It will include time exposed to sunlight or artificial UV light. A medicine may be used to make skin more sensitive to the light. This light does have risks of premature aging of skin and skin cancer. The doctor will review benefits and possible risks.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Atopic Dermatitis)
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology https://www.aaaai.org
National Eczema Association https://nationaleczema.org
Canadian Dermatology Association https://www.dermatology.ca
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
Atopic dermatitis. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/atopic-dermatitis. Accessed October 30, 2019.
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Atopic dermatitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/atopic-dermatitis. Updated July 2016. Accessed October 30, 2019.
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