Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments: These are anti-inflammatory medications and should relieve the main symptoms of eczema, such as inflammation and itchiness. People can apply them directly to the skin. Some people may benefit from prescription-strength medications.
As well as the treatments mentioned above, there are things you can do yourself to help ease your symptoms and prevent further problems.
Try to reduce the damage from scratching
Eczema is often itchy, and it can be very tempting to scratch the affected areas of skin.
But scratching usually damages the skin, which can itself cause more eczema to occur.
The skin eventually thickens into leathery areas as a result of chronic scratching.
Deep scratching also causes bleeding and increases the risk of your skin becoming infected or scarred.
Try to reduce scratching whenever possible. You could try gently rubbing your skin with your fingers instead.
If your baby has atopic eczema, anti-scratch mittens may stop them scratching their skin.
Keep your nails short and clean to minimise damage to the skin from unintentional scratching.
Keep your skin covered with light clothing to reduce damage from habitual scratching.
A GP will work with you to establish what might trigger the eczema flare-ups, although it may get better or worse for no obvious reason.
Once you know your triggers, you can try to avoid them.
- if certain fabrics irritate your skin, avoid wearing these and stick to soft, fine-weave clothing or natural materials such as cotton
- if heat aggravates your eczema, keep the rooms in your home cool, especially the bedroom
- avoid using soaps or detergents that may affect your skin – use soap substitutes instead
Although some people with eczema are allergic to house dust mites, trying to rid your home of them is not recommended as it can be difficult and there’s no clear evidence that it helps.