Are there any long term cures for eczema?
My girl (17 yrs old) has been told by doctors that her face, arms and legs are having eczema. It's a worry because she had applied cream and taken oral medications for nearly 1 month, but nothing seems to be better. Please help.
There is no complete cure to eczema. However with good control, the frequency and severity of flares can be reduced to a minimum. There are a few things to take note of.
1. Identifying triggers factors
2. Moisturizers are the cornerstone of eczema management. Regular use of a good moisturizer improves the skin barrier function and helps in retaining moisture. There is no best brand of moisturizer but you may consider some of the more popular brands such as physiogel, atopiclair, ceradan, uriage, cetaphil . Some trial and error is needed to see which suits your skin best. It is best to apply the moisturizer within 5 mins after bathing to keep the moisture in.
3. Topical steroids are effective in managing acute eczema flare and reduce inflammation. There are various strengths (and types such as cream, ointments) available and some come combined with an antibiotic component as well. Your doctor will be the best person to decide which strength is most suitable, depending on the area being treated and the severity of the flare.
4. Oral steroids may be needed in severe cases to control the flare, but these are usually tailed down gradually and are not meant for long term use.
5. Proper skin care. Avoid long and hot baths which remove the natural oils of the skin, use gentle soaps (avoid things like dettol as these damage the skin), and avoid scratching or rubbing of the inflammed skin as these will only make the eczema worse.
Eczema is a chronic condition so regular and disciplined care is important. Keep moisturizing even after the flare/itch subsides to reduce to frequency of subsequent flares.
Thank you for your question. Eczema is an inflammation of the skin. Genetics and environmental factors do play a role in the development of eczema.
While there are no cures for eczema, there are many treatments that can help to control eczema. Eczema also tends to improve with age, although some people may have eczema persisting into adulthood.
Factors such as skin dryness, infection and irritation can cause your eczema to flare or be persistent.
If your child's eczema is not getting better with the current treatment, I do suggest you see your doctor or dermatologist again for re-evaluation.
Hi Roz, you may want to read this post about eczema - it's a pretty comprehensive overview about the causes of, and treatment of eczema.
Eczema is due to an overactive immune system that attacks important bits of the skin, leading to inflammation (and rash).
The skin loses it's effectiveness as a barrier, resulting in:
- Water loss
- Dry skin
- Itchy sensation
As Dr Colin explained, there are no permanent "cures", however it's very important to be consistent with the treatment that your doctor has prescribed to minimise the chances of recurrence.
The key in any treatment of eczema is really to use lots and lots and lots of moisturizers.
Think of your skin as a piece of clothing, preventing the nasty stuff outside from getting in, and useful stuff inside from getting out.
With eczema, your skin becomes dry and leaky, like a piece of tattered clothing with many holes. As such, it can't retain any water, leading to a vicious cycle of dry skin, itch, more scratching, and more rash.
When you apply moisturizer, it adds an additional layer of protection to your "leaky skin" , while giving it time to repair itself.
Even after the eczema has completely resolved, regular moisturizers is the key to prevent it from recurring.