Home remedies: Relieve and reduce itchy eczema

November 2, 2018 by From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It's common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically and then subside. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.

No cure has been found for . But treatments and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, it helps to avoid harsh soaps and other irritants, apply medicated creams or ointments, and moisturize your skin.

To help reduce itching and soothe inflamed skin, try these self-care measures:

- Take an oral allergy or anti-itch medication.

Options include nonprescription allergy medicines (antihistamines) - such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) or fexofenadine (Allegra). Also, diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others) may be helpful if itching is severe. But it can make you drowsy, so it's better for bedtime.

- Take a bleach bath.

A diluted-bleach bath decreases bacteria on the skin and related infections. Add { cup (118 milliliters) of household bleach, not concentrated bleach, to a 40-gallon (151-liter) bathtub filled with warm water—measures are for a U.S.-standard-sized tub filled to the overflow drainage holes. Soak from the neck down or just the affected areas of skin for about 10 minutes. Do not submerge the head. Rinse, pat dry and moisturize. Take a bleach bath no more than two or three times a week. - Apply an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion to the affected area.

A nonprescription hydrocortisone cream, containing at least 1 percent hydrocortisone, can temporarily relieve the itch. Apply it to the affected area before you moisturize. Once your reaction has improved, you may use this type of cream less often to prevent flare-ups.

- Moisturize your skin at least twice a day.

Use a moisturizer all over while your skin is still damp from a bath or shower. Pay special attention to your legs, arms, back and the sides of your body. If your skin is already dry, consider using oil or lubricating cream.

- Avoid scratching.

Cover the itchy area if you can't keep from scratching it. Trim nails and wear gloves at night.

- Apply cool, wet compresses.

Covering the affected area with bandages and dressings helps protect the skin and prevent scratching.

- Take a warm bath.

Sprinkle the bath water with baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal—a finely ground oatmeal that is made for the bathtub (Aveeno, others). Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then pat dry and apply medicated lotions, moisturizers or both (use the medicated form first).

- Choose mild soaps without dyes or perfumes.

Be sure to rinse the soap completely off your body.

- Use a humidifier.

Hot, dry indoor air can parch sensitive and worsen itching and flaking. A portable home humidifier or one attached to your furnace adds moisture to the air inside your home. Keep your humidifier clean to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.

- Wear cool, smooth-textured cotton clothing.

Reduce irritation by avoiding clothing that's rough, tight, scratchy or made from wool. Also, wear appropriate clothing in hot weather or during exercise to prevent excessive sweating.

- Treat stress and anxiety.

Stress and other emotional disorders can worsen atopic dermatitis. Acknowledging those and trying to improve your emotional health can help. See your if your atopic dermatitis symptoms distract you from your daily routines or prevent you from sleeping.

Explore further: Home remedies: Dealing with dry skin

5 shares

Related Stories

Home remedies: Dealing with dry skin

December 30, 2016
Dry skin is often a temporary or seasonal problem - one that you experience only in winter or summer, for example - but the problem may remain a lifelong concern. Although your skin is often driest on your hands, arms, lower ...

Water baths as good as bleach baths for treating eczema

November 15, 2017
For patients suffering from eczema (atopic dermatitis), dermatologists will sometimes recommend bleach baths to decrease bacterial infection and reduce symptoms. But a new Northwestern Medicine study found no difference in ...

Home remedies: Don't scratch swimmer's itch

July 12, 2017
Swimmer's itch is an itchy rash that can occur after you go swimming or wading outdoors. Also known as cercarial dermatitis, swimmer's itch is most common in freshwater lakes and ponds, but it occasionally occurs in salt ...

Coping tips for winter skin

December 1, 2013
(HealthDay)—The cold, dry air of winter can deplete your skin of moisture and cause "winter itch."

Poison ivy, oak and sumac rashes can be serious

April 23, 2015
(HealthDay)—Itchy, blistering rashes from poison ivy, oak and sumac are common and are caused by an oil in the plants called urushiol.

Dermatologist offers tips on dry winter skin

December 28, 2013
(HealthDay)—Dry skin is common during the winter and can lead to flaking, itching, cracking and even bleeding. But you can prevent and treat dry skin, an expert says.

Recommended for you

Researchers finds better ways to improve the chances of survival of children with a rare immune deficiency

November 15, 2018
An international study published in the journal Blood by researchers led by Dr. Elie Haddad, a pediatric immunologist and researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine and professor at Université de Montréal, highlights the urgent need ...

Human Cell Atlas study reveals maternal immune system modifications in early pregnancy

November 14, 2018
The first Human Cell Atlas study of early pregnancy in humans has shown how the function of the maternal immune system is affected by cells from the developing placenta. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Newcastle ...

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

Researchers identify factors behind inflammation in immunodeficiency patients

November 14, 2018
Oregon State University researchers have discovered two key factors behind the intestinal inflammation that plagues people suffering from a disorder that affects their immune system.

New antibody breakthrough to lead the fight against cancer

November 14, 2018
Scientists at the University of Southampton have developed a new antibody that could hold the key to unlocking cancer's defence against the body's immune system.

Immunity connects gut bacteria and aging

November 13, 2018
Over the years, researchers have learned that the different populations of bacteria that inhabit the gut have significant effects on body functions, including the immune system. The populations of gut bacteria are sometimes ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.